The cost of crude remains near its highest in two and a half years on unrest in oil exporting countries in the Middle East and Africa.
The former Saudi oil minister Sheikh Zaki Yamani has warned prices could leap to $200 to $300 a barrel if Saudi Arabia is hit by serious political unrest.
The stalemate in Libya has fueled fears of a prolonged loss of its oil exports even as a tanker arrived at an oil terminal in the east of the country to load the first cargo of crude oil to be sold by the anti-Gadaffi rebels.
Before the uprising against Gadaffi halted exports, Europe bought more than half of Libya’s oil with Italy taking almost a third of its output and Italian oil and gas group Eni is known to have been in contact with the rebels in Benghazi about energy cooperation.
The Liberian-registered tanker Equator which arrived at the Marsa el Hariga oil terminal near Tobruk can carry up to one million barrels of crude.
It was not clear who has hired it, or the final destination of that oil. The vessel’s Greek operators would not say.