The price of Brent crude oil in London, the benchmark for much of the world, jumped more than two percent to hit $105 a barrel. That is the highest price since 2008. U.S. crude prices also rose even more sharply, but remain somewhat lower than London’s cost.
Gold prices rose more than $13 and went above $1,400 an ounce for the first time in seven weeks as investors sought a safe haven for their money.
Libya is the world’s twelfth largest oil exporter. According to the International Energy Agency, the country produces about 1.6 million barrels of crude a day, about 2 percent of global oil demand.
The reviving global economy was already pushing up energy demand and prices before the political crisis in Libya.
The Bloomberg financial news service reports that some foreign oil companies are evacuating the families of expatriate employees, and non-essential workers.
One firm closed an office in Tripoli, while another suspended exploration for new oil. Other firms, however, are operating normally. The chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation, Shokri Ghanem, said he has no information on a media report that a strike has stopped production in one oil field.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.