Oil up in Asia as Libyan tensions escalate

Singapore, Feb 21 (AFP) Oil prices surged in Asiantrade today, with Brent crude passing USD 103 as escalatingtensions in Libya fuelled concerns over instability spreadingacross the oil-producing Arab states, analysts said.

Brent North Sea crude for April delivery soared USD1.02 to USD 103.54 per barrel, and New York''s main contract,light sweet crude for delivery in March, gained USD 1.13 toUSD 87.33.

"Both benchmarks have really zoomed ahead thismorning. The main driver is really the unrest in the MiddleEast," said Victor Shum, senior principal for Purvin and Gertzenergy consultants in Singapore.

He added that fresh violence in Organisation ofPetroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member state Libya wasigniting fears of instability spreading throughout the keyoil-supplying Middle Eastern and North African region.

"Libya is a member of OPEC and even though Libya''s oilproduction isn''t very significant on a global basis, it''sreally threatening close to the main suppliers of crude oil tothe world, mainly Middle East and North Africa," Shum toldAFP.

Intense gunfire was heard early today in the heart ofthe Libyan capital Tripoli and several quarters of the city asSaif al-Islam Kadhafi, the son of strongman Moamer Kadhafi,warned that the embattled nation was on the verge of civilwar. (AFP)

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