Oil higher as turmoil in Libya continues

Singapore, Feb 23 (AFP) Oil was higher in Asian tradetoday as the turmoil unfolding in the Arab world continued torock Libya, a major crude exporter, analysts said.

New York''s main contract, light sweet crude for Aprildelivery, rose four cents to USD 95.46 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April went up 22cents to USD 106.

"Sustained protests (in the Middle East) could injecthuge amount of uncertainty in the oil market in the mediumterm," said Chen Xin Yi, a Singapore-based commodities analystfor Barclays Capital.

The unrest in the key oil-producing Middle East andNorth African region which includes Libya, Bahrain, Yemen andIran has stoked fears of disruption to global crude supplies,analysts said.

Libya, which has Africa''s largest oil reserves and isthe continent''s fourth largest producer, is a member of theOrganisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), thecartel that produces about 40 per cent of global supplies.

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi''s pledge to crushanti-regime protesters raised the stakes in an increasingbloody fight for control of the country, a fight that couldhalt oil shipments.

Speaking on the sidelines of a producer-consumermeeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Tuesday, Saudi OilMinister Ali al-Naimi said OPEC was prepared to meet anyshortage of supplies.

"There is absolutely no shortage of supply now... OPECis ready to meet any shortage in supply when it happens,"Naimi said.

"There is concern and fear but there is no shortage,"the minister reiterated in a bid to assure consumer countriesthat crude oil supplies are guaranteed despite sweepingunrest. (AFP)

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