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Oil rockets to US$101 per barrel on Egypt unrest

1 February 2011 No Comment

OIL surged beyond $100 on Monday for the first time since 2008, as traders fretted over spreading unrest in Egypt that could disrupt the flow of oil through the Suez Canal.

London’s Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March surged as high as US$101 (S$129) per barrel in late afternoon deals – which marked the highest level since October 1, 2008 – moments after passing the crucial US$100 milestone.

‘It is quite clear that a risk premium due to the Egyptian situation pushed Brent above US$100 per barrel as soon as the US came into the market this afternoon,’ SEB Commodity Research analyst Filip Petersson told AFP.

‘In the light of uncertainty regarding the Suez Channel, the SUMED pipeline and a spread of political unrest in the region, we consider the risk premium justified.’ Oil has soared beyond $100 despite earlier assurances from Opec’s chief that the cartel stood ready to raise output should the Egypt crisis hinder supplies.

A sea of protesters flooded downtown Cairo on Monday, brushing aside concessions by President Hosni Mubarak and vowing to topple his regime with strikes and million-strong marches in the capital and Alexandria.

Protesters in Cairo vowed they would only be satisfied when Mr Mubarak quits, and promised to step up their efforts to bring down his creaking regime, after a week of revolt in which at least 125 people have been killed.

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