Oil surges to near $120, then eases on Saudi assurance

Posted: February 24, 2011 in US News, World News

February 24, 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil surged to 2-1/2-year highs near $120 a barrel on Thursday as the revolt in Libya choked exports, then eased as Saudi Arabia assured European refiners the kingdom could step in to fill any supply shortfalls.

Brent crude jumped 7.5 percent as the revolt in Libya cut off up to three quarters of the OPEC nation’s 1.6 million barrels per day of production, according to Italian oil company ENI, a top player in Libya’s oil sector.

The International Energy Agency said, however, that the loss could be smaller.

The Paris-based energy adviser to 28 industrialized nations estimated that between 500,000 to 750,000 barrels per day of crude oil — less than 1 percent of global daily consumption — have been lost due to the Libyan crisis.

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