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Your present location:Trade News > Oil holds gains after spike on Libya violence

Oil holds gains after spike on Libya violence

Date:2011年2月24日 09:02

At least three international oil companies have halted production in Libya, which pumps nearly 2 percent of world output. Some companies have been pulling employees and their families out of Africa's third-largest producer, though others say they are keeping oil flowing there.

Oil prices surged as much as 6 percent on Monday, taking Brent crude in London to almost $109 a barrel at one point for the first time since 2008. Prices remained strong on Tuesday, but closer to $106.

"We've lost 300,000 bpd of production (in Libya) already with the potential for further cuts to output and exports," said Andy Lebow, a trader at MF Global in New York.

"The major underlying fear in the market is that these protests spread in the region to even larger producers like Saudi Arabia. While that might not look likely right now, even a hint of real problems there could send prices vertical."

Brent crude for April delivery rose 4 cents to settle at $105.78 a barrel, the highest close since September 2008 but off earlier highs of $108.57. Brent hit a 2-1/2 year high of $108.70 a barrel on Monday.

U.S. crude for March delivery, which expired on Tuesday, rose to $93.57 a barrel, after touching $94.49, the highest since October 2008. It was up $7.37 a barrel from Friday; although the market traded on Monday, it did not print an official settlement price due to a holiday.

The more actively traded April contract gained $5.71 from Friday to trade at $95.42 a barrel.

In a defiant speech on Tuesday, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi refused to step aside and threatened tougher action against protests, as rebel troops said eastern regions, including major oilfields, had broken free from his rule.

Two more oil companies, Italy's ENI and Spain's Repsol, halted output, cutting some 13 percent of its 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil production. U.S. companies said their output was still flowing.

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