The price of oil has shot to over $99.00 a barrel as protests in the Middle East and North Africa heighten concerns on supplies from the top oil producing countries in the region.

US crude shot up $2.66 to $99.63 a barrel, its highest settlement since 30 September 2008, and Brent crude for April went up $3.62 to $115.42 a barrel, reports Reuters.

Brent extended gains in post-settlement trade, rising at one point by more than $5.00 to $116.76 following an unexpected decline in weekly US crude inventories and a 4.9 million barrel fall in gasoline stocks, according to US industry data.

The news of a detained Shi-ite cleric in Saudi Arabia and unrest in Iran have also boosted prices and investors are worried over supply shortage if unrest spreads across the world’s biggest crude exporters.

Protests in Libya have brought down its oil output to half its total production capacity, although oil installations are undamaged.