Oil prices rose for a second day, surpassing $70 a barrel, as Asian equities extended a global stock-market rally, lifting expectations of fuel demand growth, Bloomberg reported.

Crude oil for August 2009 delivery gained as much as $0.54, or 0.8%, to $70.77 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $70.66 a barrel at 12.31pm Singapore time.

Yesterday, the contract added $1.56, or 2.3%, to settle at $70.23 a barrel. Oil rose 1.5% this week after dropping 3.5% the previous week.

Brent crude oil for August 2009 settlement grew as much as $0.42, or 0.6%, to $70.20 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. It raised $1.45, or 2.1%, to end yesterday’s session at $69.78 a barrel.

Gasoline for July 2009 delivery rose 0.16 cents, or 0.1%, to $1.8999 a gallon at 12.06pm in Singapore. Yesterday, it gained 5.58 cents, or 3%, to end the session at $1.8983 a gallon.

A falling dollar makes raw materials such as oil and gold attractive alternative investments. The dollar traded at $1.4047 versus the euro at 12.48pm in Singapore, following a 0.4% drop yesterday.

Militants attack

Oil prices have been supported and supply curtailed since December 2005 due to militant activity in the Niger River delta, Nigeria’s main oil-producing region.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) has stepped up a sabotage campaign in the region since a military offensive started the previous month.

Fighters from the Nigerian group attacked the Bille-Krakrama pipeline, interrupting supplies from Royal Dutch Shell’s Cawthorne 1, 2 and 3 oil-pumping stations, MEND spokesman Jomo Gbomo said.

A Shell spokeswoman confirmed an attack on a manifold on the pipeline and could not say whether production was stopped by the incident.