Crude oil hit $80 a barrel on 4 January as Russia stopped oil supplies to Belarussian refineries.

Russia curtailed its oil supplies following failure to reach a consensus on terms for 2010 with traders threatening a repeat of a disagreement that interrupted supplies to other European locations three years ago.

For February delivery, US crude increased by 64¢ to $80 a barrel by 4:31am GMT, while London Brent crude increased by 65¢ to $78.58 a barrel, according to Reuters.

On 31 December 2009, oil prices closed at $79 a barrel, rising by 78% in 2009, which was the largest yearly rise since 1999 when production cuts by producers enabled a revival in prices from lows near $10 a barrel.

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