Oil prices increased today, as investors suspected reports of Libyan ports reopening to be proved false, which signaled crude oil supply concerns.

Brent crude was up by 35 cents to $106.50 a barrel, while US oil rose by 50 cents to settle at $101.79 a barrel, reported Reuters.

Crude prices rose after investors cast doubt on reports of Libya’s oil ports reopening, and stood cautious in light of a breakdown of agreements between The Libyan Government and rebels earlier in the year.

"Geopolitical tensions between Russia and the west over Ukraine have also supported oil prices."

Oil prices fell in the earlier session on expectations that an eight-month blockage of Libya’s oil export ports would end, after the government said they were close to an agreement and the restart could release approximately 600,000bpd of crude.

Oil traders suspect that even though a deal between the Libyan Government and the rebels is signed, some major fields and a pipeline in the country’s south-west may remain closed by separate protests.

The impact of Libyan oil inflow could be limited in the short term, as shipping and insurance costs were expected to rise in light of recent hostilities.

Geopolitical tensions between Russia and the west over Ukraine have also supported oil prices.

Reuters’ March 2014 forecast showed that US jobs are set to rise by 200,000, which is expected to improve demand outlook in the world’s top oil consumer, lending support to oil prices.

Image: Doubts persisted over a lasting deal to reopen vital Libyan oil ports. Photo: courtesy of Sura Nualpradid.