Saudi danger pushes oil up

OIL prices soared again following continued unrest in Libya and on fears over contagion in Saudia Arabia.

Brent crude futures in London hit almost $118 a barrel yesterday before falling back a dollar, while WTI in New York rose to about $102.41.

News of an airstrike in Libya near an oil terminal spurred worries, causing oil prices to approach two-and-a-half-year highs.

Trader at MF Global in New York Andy Lebow said: “It’s hard to say if the Libyan government is trying to target oil infrastructure in the east or whether they’re just targeting rebel-held areas, but the market’s reacting to this threat either way.”

Embattled leader colonel Gaddafi yesterday launched a counter-offensive against rebel soldiers in eastern Libya.

Clashes between Gaddafi loyalists and rebels lasted into the night in what could be the first developments of a civil war in the country.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s stock index fell a further 3.9 per cent yesterday as a second day of fears over instability in the region hit trading.

The oil-rich Arab country could become the next nation to be swallowed by pro-democracy protests sweeping the Middle East – raising fears over the stability of investments and oil supply.