Brent crude oil futures increased for the second straight day on Thursday as preoccupations reared about anti-government protests in the Middle East reducing exports of oil from the region, Bloomberg reports.
Those concerns were held up against Japanese demand slashed by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
"The oil market is torn between two opposing factors," Tobias Merath, head of commodity research at Credit Suisse in Zurich, told the publication. "The terrible events in Japan, where refinery capacity is shut in, are negative for the price, and on the other hand political events in North Africa, which could push prices up."
Shortly prior to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Brent crude oil futures were up 3.44 percent, an increase of $3.81 to $114.41 per barrel.
But other analysts said Japanese demand for oil is likely to increase because the nuclear disaster caused by the natural disasters will prompt the nation to explore alternative power sources.
"Reliance on oil and LNG for power generation will increase," according to an emailed note from Nomura analysts. "In the medium term, reconstruction could boost demand given the extent of infrastructure damage."
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