Brent above $119, US oil at 2.5-year peak
Singapore, April 4, 2011
Brent crude rose over $119 a barrel and US crude hit a 2-1/2-year high on Monday at more than $108 as unrest in the Middle East and North Africa triggered concern that supplies could be dented while economic growth bolsters demand.
Comments from Iran's oil minister that there was no need for Opec to hold an extraordinary meeting to address high oil prices also supported sentiment.
Iran is Opec's leading oil price hawk and holder of the organization's rotating presidency in 2011.
ICE Brent gained 39 cents to $119.09 a barrel at 0551 GMT, after trading as high as $119.48, near the 2-1/2-year peak of $119.79 hit on February 24.
US crude was up 42 cents to $108.36 a barrel at 0551 GMT, after touching $108.74 earlier in the session -- highest since September 2008.
"We have supply concerns which we haven't had for the last few years and this is mostly related to Libya now," said John Vautrain of energy consulting firm Purvin and Gertz.
"The tension has disrupted crude supplies, and that is affecting Europe."
The government of Libya -- the world's 17th-largest oil producer and Africa's third-largest -- sent an envoy to Greece on Sunday to discuss an end to fighting, but gave no signs of any major climbdown in a war that has ground to a stalemate between rebels and forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.
Underlining the plight of civilians in western Libya, a Turkish ship that sailed into the besieged city of Misrata to rescue some 250 wounded had to leave in a hurry after crowds pressed forward on the dockside hoping to escape.
In Yemen, two protesters died and hundreds were hurt on Sunday when police used live rounds, tear gas and batons to try to break up protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who called for an end to weeks of unrest, signalling he has no intention of resigning soon.
Unrest also reigned in other parts of the Middle East, with the Gulf Arab states voicing deep concern over what they called Iranian interference in their affairs after Iran objected to the despatch of Saudi troops to Bahrain and a spying row raised tensions. - Reuters