* World leaders pressure U.S. over Syria at G20 summit
* Oil producers in Iraq fret about Syria, boost security
* U.S. job data misses expectations
(Adds details on prices, new quote)
By Jeanine Prezioso
NEW YORK, Sept 6 U.S. crude oil futures settled
on Friday at their highest level in more than two years as
investors rushed to buy amid concerns a possible military strike
against Syria could cause oil prices to spike.
Investors feared a U.S.-led military strike against Syria
would stir broader conflict in the Middle East, which pumps a
third of the world's oil.
"The longs piled back in on regional fears related to
Syria," said Gene McGillian, energy analyst with Tradition
Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
U.S. crude oil for October delivery settled up 2
percent, or $2.16 per barrel, at $110.53. The last time crude
oil futures settled above that level was on May 3, 2011, at
Brent oil, the global benchmark, has already priced in
geopolitical concern over Syria. Brent crude oil
futures for October delivery settled up 86 cents per
barrel to $116.12, on Friday.
The U.S. Congress is expected to vote next week on President
Barack Obama's proposal to launch a missile strike to punish
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his suspected use of
chemical weapons against civilians.
"The escalation of the rhetoric and tension has certainly
gotten the crude oil market's attention," said Andy Lebow, vice
president with Jefferies Bache in New York.
At the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Obama has faced
growing pressure from Russia, China, the European Union and
major emerging market countries not to carry out a strike
without support from the U.N. Security Council.
But Obama said failure to act against Syria's use of
chemical weapons would embolden "rogue nations" to use them too.
Obama said he would address the American people on Syria on
Obama declined to say whether he would proceed with a strike
against Syria even if Congress votes "No."
U.S. oil rallied more sharply Brent as some investors rushed
to cover short positions ahead of the weekend while others
bought aggressively. U.S. oil was playing catch up, said Rich
Ilczyszyn, chief market strategist and founder of iitrader.com
LLC in Chicago.
"Right here you have speculators in WTI. Brent was already
pricing in the action, that's why you see a bigger bid in WTI."
U.S. crude settled with its largest weekly percentage gain
in two months, at 2.7 percent, the highest since July 5. It was
the largest daily percentage gain since Aug. 27.
Rising U.S. oil prices cut Brent's premium to U.S. crude oil
to its narrowest in more than to weeks. The spread settled
CL-LCO1=R at $5.59 per barrel.
U.S. crude extended slight gains after the Labor Department
said nonfarm payrolls increased 169,000 last month, but the jobs
number was less than the market expected.
The weak jobs data coupled with worries over Syria supported
the market. The data likely means "the Fed does not have room to
pull back on its stimulus program," McGillian said, which has
been largely seen as supporting commodities prices.
The Brent market has also been focused on, and supported by,
tighter supplies in recent months as Libya has reduced output.
North Sea crude, which underpins the Brent oil contract, has
faced some supply disruptions.
North Sea producers were expected to boost supplies next
Saudi Arabia produced a record 10.10 million barrels of
crude oil per day (bpd) in August, and supplied the market with
10.07 million bpd, industry sources said.
Late last month, the top OPEC oil producer, said it would
pump a record 10.5 million bpd of crude in the third quarter,
its highest quarterly level of production ever, U.S. energy
consultancy PIRA said.
(Additional reporting by Lin Noueihed in London and Florence
Tan in Singapore; Editing by Bernadette Baum, David Gregorio and