News / Middle East

Oil Prices Surge on Libya Upheaval

A trader watches his screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks dropped for a second straight session as Libya's violence sent oil prices up briefly to $100 a barrel and tech shares sank, February 23, 2011.
A trader watches his screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks dropped for a second straight session as Libya's violence sent oil prices up briefly to $100 a barrel and tech shares sank, February 23, 2011.

Multimedia

Global stocks dipped again Wednesday as oil prices soared to new highs on fears that the revolt in Libya could spread.  International oil companies, including BP and Shell, have already cut production or evacuated staff. But analysts say whether Libya's current regime survives or not, the impact of the unrest on the global economy could be far-reaching.

Grainy YouTube video shows no letup in the popular but deadly uprising against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Critics vow to continue their protests despite Gadhafi's threat to crush the revolt.

With neither side willing to back down, international traders are increasingly on edge - driving up oil prices to their highest level in more than two years. Energy analyst Fadel Gheit says fear of the unknown is fueling the dramatic price hikes.

"What the market is anticipating is the next step.  If the situation does not come to a halt in Libya I think the market will be very jittery and oil prices will continue to remain inflated," Gheit said.

Although there is currently no shortage to justify higher prices, the immediate threat is from instability in markets that depend on Libyan oil.

Ian Lesser was an adviser on North Africa in the Clinton administration. "We don't import that much oil from Libya, but we have a stake in the effect of a loss of Libyan supply on the stability of global energy markets," he said. "And some of our European allies import a lot of energy from Libya."

Energy trader Will Hedden says that instability, coupled with rising oil prices, is a dangerous mix in a fragile global economy. "And certainly if the price continues to rise and we see further problems, this isn't going to have a good effect at all and it will have the potential to derail the global recovery," Hedden stated.

As the violence escalates, at least four international oil companies operating in Libya have already announced production cutbacks.  

But Hedden says there is no reason to panic just yet.

The International Energy Agency says the 12 nation cartel of petroleum exporting countries, which includes Libya, is prepared to increase production if needed.

"We know that Saudi Arabia has a large supply and the IAEA will mandate the members responsible to help increase supply," Hedden said.

Libya provides less than two percent of the world's oil supply or about 1.6 million barrels per day. But fears that the turmoil could spread to major oil producing countries has sent oil prices skyrocketing. Some investment groups warn oil prices could reach historic highs near $147 a barrel if the unrest continues.

You May Like

Amnesty: EU Failing Migrants, Refugees

Rights group says migrants, refugees subject to detention, extortion, beatings More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs