Oil prices rose as news of the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz left uncertainty in the oil markets.

Saudi is the world’s top oil exporter. Brent crude surged by $1.18 a barrel to reach $49.70, while US crude rose by $1 to touch $47.31, reports Reuters.

French bank Societe Generale was quoted by the news agency saying: "This little spike in prices is understandable. But this is a selling opportunity in our view. It should be sold off quickly and it won’t last long at all."

"Shale production of more than nine million barrels a day turned the US from one of the world’s largest oil importers into one of the top producers."

Brent prices were in the range of $47.78 to $50.45 a barrel after a long period of volatility this week.

The new king of Saudi Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is likely to continue an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) policy of keeping oil production steady to ensure rival producers do not interfere with the cartel’s market share.

As a result of soaring supplies and weak demand, oil prices have reduced by more than half, after hitting a peak in June 2014. Shale production of more than nine million barrels a day turned the US from one of the world’s largest oil importers into one of the top producers.

Several oil producers such as Venezuela urged OPEC to reduce production to prevent decreasing prices.