Oil prices slid on Friday as traders bet that Japan’s massive earthquake would mean a sharp decrease in the country’s imports of crude.
The quake and the tsunami that followed have shut down many factories in the world’s third-largest oil consumer.
There was also a sell-off of oil futures as investors fled any commodity that they felt was too risky.
Prices have surged to two and a half year highs recently due to the violence in Libya and unrest in Saudi Arabia.
The producers cartel OPEC, in its latest monthly report, said the world does have enough oil despite losses from Libya as the Saudis and other OPEC members have raised output.
Another factor pushing down crude prices – promised pro-democracy protests in Saudi Arabia after Friday prayers failed to materialise in the face of a huge security operation by the Saudi government.