China asks Russia's Yukos to continue crude deliveries

China urged the &to=' target=_blank>Russian oil giant Yukos on Tuesday to stand by commitments to export crude to the world's second-largest oil consumer, hoping to defuse a potential battle before Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visits Moscow this week. Yukos, Russia's biggest oil exporter, said on Monday that it would cut its supplies to China by about 1 million tons in the remaining months of 2004 because it lacked the money to pay for export fees.

"We hope Yukos can carry out the contracts it has signed with relevant Chinese companies," a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Kong Quan, said at a news conference, reports the International Herald Tribune.

According to CNN, oil prices held above $46 a barrel Tuesday as China showed no letup in its strong demand and U.S. Gulf producers continued to report damage to offshore rigs from Hurricane Ivan.

U.S. light crude for November delivery rose 7 cents to $46.42 a barrel, barely $3 below record peaks struck in August.

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