Oil prices surge on fear of Libyan unrest

February 22, 2011

By Patrice Hill-The Washington Times

Oil prices soared and global stocks plunged Monday on signs that Libya, a major exporter, will cut oil production amid spreading violence and unrest.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi‘s son, Seif al-Islam, warned that Libya‘s oil wealth “will be burned” if the unrest leads to civil war, while an influential Libyan tribal leader offered a counterthreat to cut off oil shipments to the West within 24 hours if the regime’s violence against protesters does not end.

The turmoil in Libya sent the price of premium crude oil in London soaring above $105 a barrel, the highest level in 2½ years, while stocks throughout Europe fell from 1 percent to 2 percent.

Most U.S. markets were closed for the Presidents Day holiday, but the price of U.S. premium crude surged 5 percent to $90.13 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Officials sought to calm markets by pointing to the world’s strategic reserves of oil.

International Energy Agency official David Fyfe said the prospect of an interruption in oil production in the Middle East is “a real concern” because the region lays claim to 60 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves and 40 percent of global gas resources.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/feb/21/oil-prices-surge-on-fear-of-libyan-unrest/

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