Oil tops $102 on the NYMEX, keeps gaining on Middle East tensions

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Light sweet crude oil rose above $102 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday for the first time in more than two years.

A reported air strike near a major oil terminal in Libya has pushed the price of oil higher on the threat of even more reduced production in the market.

In intra-day trading Wednesday, West Texas Intermediate crude jumped more than $2 to trade at a high of $102.2 a barrel. In London, the price of Brent crude rose to nearly $117 a barrel.

Despite a gain in stocks at Cushing, which helped to drop the price briefly below $99 a barrel, tensions in the Middle East and North Africa have fed fears about diminished oil supplies, sparking oil buys across global markets.

Chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation Shokri Ghanem told Reuters that should the unrest in Libya continue, it could force oil prices to climb to $130 a barrel. 

Various operators have shut-in production in Libya, as well as evacuated international staff because of the violence in the OPEC-member nation.

Additionally, civil unrest has spread to other major oil-producing nations, including Iran, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iraq.

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