Oil prices rose two per cent this morning, following the announcement of the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.
Brent Crude, the global oil benchmark, rose to $49.48 a barrel after the announcement was made on state television late on Thursday. Rumours had already been circulating on social media when it was confirmed.
King Abdullah was 90 years old when he died of pneumonia, having been admitted to hospital on 31 December. He became country's king in 2005, but had effectively been in charge since his brother Fahd had a stroke in 1995.
He will be succeeded by his half brother, Crown Prince Salman.
A key member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Saudi Arabia is one of the world's biggest oil producing nations.
Although the current fall in oil prices is fuelled by an oversupply of global oil relative to demand, OPEC has faced pressure to cut its level of production. All member states have remained adamant they will not alter their production programmes.
The king's death left investors hoping someone with less intransigent views might take control of the matter, but analysts have pointed out that he was one of many who formed Saudi Arabia's oil policy in recent years