Oil prices rise to US $71 a barrel after decline

Oil prices rose to recover some ground in Asian trading Friday after ending sharply lower in the previous session. Analysts said anxiety over Iran's nuclear ambitions continued to support crude futures. Light, sweet crude for July delivery rose 53 cents to US $70.87 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, late afternoon in Singapore. The contract closed 95 cents lower at US $70.34. July Brent on London's ICE Futures exchange gained 17 cents to $69.56 per barrel. Gasoline futures gained 0.64 cent to US $2.1336 a gallon while heating oil prices rose 2.23 cents to US $1.993 a gallon. Natural gas prices rose fractionally to US $6.445 per 1,000 cubic feet. The previous session's pullback in oil prices was triggered by a Wednesday announcement by the US that it was ready to join talks with Iran over its disputed nuclear program on the condition that Iran first suspend enrichment activities.