Egyptian authorities say the Canal remains open; staff shortages may cause some delay
Egyptian officials say oil shipments through the Suez Canal are proceeding normally, despite days of anti-government protests around the country.
The Suez Canal is a key passageway for oil deliveries between the east and the west, enabling tankers to avoid the long journey around southern Africa's Cape of Good Hope and cutting routes by almost 10,000 kilometers.
More than two million barrels of oil transit Suez each day through the Canal and a pipeline that runs alongside it, accounting for at least two percent of global oil output.
Egyptian authorities say the Canal remains open, and some observers say they see no imminent threat of a shutdown.
But shippers have warned of possible delays to oil deliveries through Suez due to staff shortages and interuptions in communication networks.
Oil prices have risen sharply in recent months as the global economic recovery increases energy demand.
Traders say another factor pushing up prices is concern that Egypt's political turmoil may spread to larger oil producing nations in the Gulf region.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.