Global crises play havoc on oil prices

Oil prices have risen on worries over the unrest in the Arab world
and concerns over the Japan nuclear crisis.

Brent crude rose by 2.5 per cent,
or $2.73, to $111.25 a barrel, rebounding from near a three-week low.

US light, sweet crude gained $2 to
$99.38 a barrel.

There were new protests in the
oil-producing Middle East, including a crackdown in Bahrain and Yemen.

And technicians in Japan continued
to work to avoid a meltdown at a nuclear power plant.

Oil prices have yet to benefit from
an expected increase in Japanese demand for gas and fuel oil for power
generation to replace some of the lost nuclear capacity.

Reconstruction efforts will boost
Japanese oil burning by around 500,000 barrels per day, according to JBC Energy
Research Centre.

Separately, an explosion has been
reported an area in Nigeria’s main oil-producing region, according to a
military spokesman.

In Bahrain, troops from Saudi
Arabia have participated in a crackdown on protesters.

 The tiny kingdom is near the heart of the
Saudi oil industry around Dhahran, which has the world’s largest oil fields.

Meanwhile, in Libya, forces loyal
to leader Col Muammar Gaddafi made their first ground assault on rebel-held

Libyan oil exports go predominately
to the European market – for which Brent is the leading price benchmark.