Oil prices rose to over $98 today, following concerns that the current unrest in Libya may spread to other oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.
US crude for April increased by 56¢ to stand at $98.66 per barrel after touching $100 for the first time since October 2008, while Brent crude touched $113 a barrel, reports Reuters.
The Libyan protests have resulted in supplies being slashed by least 400,000 barrels out of the country’s total daily output of 1.6 million barrels.
Investors are concerned about the impact of the unrest on Saudi Arabia, which not only produces 10% of the world’s oil, but is also the only holder of significant spare crude production capacity that could be used to plug supply outages.
US oil inventory data from API indicated a rise in petroleum stocks by 163,000 barrels last week, while distillate inventories fell by 534,000 barrels and petrol supplies dropped 1.6 million barrels.