13.2 C
March 25, 2023

USD 104.6 a barrel, oil’s highest level since before the 2008 financial crisis

The price has risen in response to the turmoil in Libya.

Brent crude jumped 1.77 pc in early Monday trading to USD104.6 a barrel, its highest level since before the 2008 financial crisis. According to BBC News, BP intends to evacuate some of its 140 employees from the country, which is a major oil producer for the European market. Meanwhile shares in Italian oil firm ENI – which is active in Libya – have fallen 3.2 pc. The Italian company had said on Saturday that its operations were unaffected by the violence, which at that point had yet to spread to Tripoli. Strikes by workers are reported to have shut down the Nafoora oilfield, which is operated by a subsidiary of the Libyan state-owned oil company. A BP spokesman said that the UK firm was just monitoring the situation in Libya and “making preparations to evacuate some of the families, and some non-essential staff in the next day or two.” Only 40 of its Libyan staff are expatriates. The firm has already shut down its onshore drilling operations in Libya, although the work is only preparatory in nature, and not actually producing oil yet. Separate offshore exploratory work in the Libyan Mediterranean is unaffected, the firm said. The UK Foreign Office has advised that those without a pressing need to remain in the country, should leave by commercial means if it is safe to do so, and the US has also advised its citizens against non-essential travel. Meanwhile Turkey says it has received applications from about 3,000 of its citizens to be flown home, with the first flight having been sent to Benghazi – the epicenter of the revolt – on Sunday.


Commodities markets are worried about more than just Libya, with the threat of unrest escalating in Iran – the second biggest oil producer in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). There is nervousness that even OPEC’s biggest producer, Saudi Arabia, may yet succumb to instability, although the autocratic regime there has yet to witness any protests. However, oil supplies have yet to be disrupted by any of the events in the Middle East. Libya is responsible for only 2 pc of all oil production worldwide, although its share of the European market is estimated at 10 pc, with Italy being its biggest customer.

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