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US oil prices settle above $102

New York – US oil price rose on Wednesday and settled for the first time above $100 since September 2008, as unrest in Libya continued and US crude inventories dropped.

Crude Oil extraction

Crude Oil extraction

On Wednesday, airstrikes took place close to the oil fields in Libya – sparking further fears among investors and traders that the supply disruption of this OPEC member state would continue.

Libya’s National Oil Corporation Chairman Shokri Ghanem estimated that Libya’s oil output has been reduced to 700 000 from 750 000 barrels per day because of the departure of most foreign workers. He said if the unrest continued, oil price could hit $130 dollars a barrel this month.

Anxieties about long-term oil supply were further increased by the instability of other countries in the area of North Africa and Middle East.

Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration reported that US crude inventories fell 400 000 barrels to 346.4 million barrels in the week ending 25 February, ending its six weeks of straight rise.

Experts expected oil prices to keep rising as supply disrupted at the time of demand picked up.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery gained $2.60, or 2.61 percent to settle at $102.23 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange – having surged about 20 percent since the breakout of Libya’s unrest.

In London, Brent crude also surged and last traded around $117 dollars a barrel. – BuaNews-Xinhua