Brent crude oil futures are increasing in value as civil and political unrest heightens in Libya as the North African Arab nation's leader of 42 years struggles to tamp down threats to his grip on power which already claimed the Mubarak regime in neighboring Egypt, CNN reports.
Anti-government protests are gaining steam in the oil-rich Middle East, spreading to Bahrain, Yemen, Djibouti and Iran. Libya produces approximately 1.6 barrels million barrels of crude oil per day, according to an oil analyst, which gives its revolution major geopolitical implications.
"Now it's starting to look like the entire region's on fire and it looks like it could spread to other parts of the region," Peter Beutel, oil analyst with energy risk management firm Cameron Hanover, told CNN. "This thing is getting worse and worse and worse and it could spread to Saudi Arabia and that's the big fear."
At 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Brent crude oil futures were up 0.49 percent, a 0.52 cent climb to $106.26 per barrel.
Beutel said Saudi Arabia produces 8.4 million barrels per day and other analysts also are keeping an eye on one of the U.S.' closest allies in the Middle East.
"Markets have always relied on Saudi Arabia to act as the swing producer, boosting output if supplies were disrupted elsewhere," Win Thin, global head of emerging markets strategy for Brown Brothers Harriman, told CNN.
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