Libyan unrest drives oil up further
NEW YORK — The price of oil rose to a 30-month high yesterday as fighters loyal to Moammar Khadafy pushed back rebels from key areas in eastern Libya.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rose $2.45, more than 2 percent, to settle at $106.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. At one point it hit $106.83, the highest it has been since September 2008. In London, Brent crude rose $2.25 to settle at $117.20 per barrel.
Battles between Khadafy’s troops and rebels have seesawed back and forth since mid-February, with the price of oil rising more than $20 a barrel since.
Libya’s oil exports, which went mainly to Europe, are shut down. The rebels have said they plan to start shipping oil again, although how soon that could happen is unclear.
Gas pump prices continue to rise along with the price of oil. The national average in the United States yesterday hit $3.606 for a gallon of regular, according to AAA, Wright Express, and Oil Price Information Service. That is 23 cents higher than a month ago and 81 cents above a year ago.
The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report on natural gas supplies yesterday. It showed that the country’s abundant reserves grew by 12 billion cubic feet to 1.624 trillion cubic feet —4.4 percent above the five-year average.