Oil prices rose above $102 a barrel as UN allies launched a second series of air strikes on Libya to contain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

US crude for April increased by $1.79 to stand at $102.86, while Brent crude for May rose by $2.29 to $116.22 a barrel, reports Reuters.

US President Barack Obama ordered US forces into the biggest military intervention in the Middle East since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Gaddafi has vowed to fight to the death.

The military action against Libya has raised concerns about the increasing violence taking place in North Africa and the Middle East. Unrest intensified in Syria and Yemen following uprisings that overthrew leaders in Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year and a recent crackdown on protests in Bahrain.