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Oil prices increased today after worsening geopolitical tensions over Ukraine fuelled investor concerns that the situation could lead to military confrontation with Russia and disrupt supplies.

Brent crude was up by 75 cents to $108.08 a barrel, while US oil rose by 56 cents to settle at $104.30 a barrel, reported Reuters.

Crude prices gained after Ukraine laid out a deadline for pro-Russian separatists in eastern cities to disarm by Monday morning or face a ‘full-scale anti-terrorist operation’ by its armed forces.

On 13 April, the United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis, as the war of words between its Western allies and Russia continued.

The Security Council convened at Russia’s request, while Moscow called Kiev’s plans to mobilise the army ‘criminal’.

The Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, did not accept Western and Ukrainian claims that Moscow was behind the violence, and claimed in the meeting that Ukraine has been using radical neo-Nazi forces to destabilise its eastern region.

However, further crude gains were capped by expectations of more Libyan oil entering the market.

"Brent crude was up by 75 cents to $108.08 a barrel, while US oil rose by 56 cents to settle at $104.30 a barrel."

Libya’s western Zawiya oil port has resumed operations after protesters vacated the entrance to the facilities, and the adjoining refinery will restart in about 24 hours, a spokesperson for the state oil company said.

Traders are awaiting fresh data from the world’s second-biggest consumer, China, where the Reuters survey revealed that the country’s growth slipped to 7.3% in the first quarter from 7.7% in the final three months of 2013.


Image: Oil prices increased after worsening geopolitical tensions over Ukraine. Photo: courtesy of Victor Habbick.

Energy