As the unrest continues in Egypt, North Sea Brent crude oil futures have hit their highest in 28 months – over $102 a barrel.
The price went above $100 a barrel on Monday and has remained elevated since on worries the unrest could spread across the Middle East and north Africa, which is the source of more than a third of the world’s oil.
So far there has been no disruption to oil transiting through the Suez Canal or the Suez-Mediterranean pipeline.
Jean-Louis Schilansky, the head of the French oil companies’ trade group UFIP, said: “The problem is not Egypt itself, it’s not Egypt as an oil producer, it’s Egypt as a stabiliser of this region. So the risk of greater tensions in Egypt and a potential contagion effect in the region, that is what is creating tension on the market.”
Traders said prices would stay high as long as investors remain worried that unrest in north Africa could fuel similar protests in bigger oil producers such as Libya or even Saudi Arabia, which risk disruptions to oil supplies.