April 14, 2011
With the civil war in Libya now entering its third week, Egypt moving haltingly towards free elections, and hundreds dead in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain after a month of anti-government protests in each country, the Middle East is rife with instability. On Wednesday, April 6, that instability pushed the spot price of Brent oil above US$123 per barrel, a high not seen since August 2008 when prices were crashing from an all-time peak of US$147.50 on the eve of the financial crisis.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is brushing aside pressure to act, saying it is already doing all it can to subdue the rally.
“All that OPEC can do is provide the market with the oil it needs, and it is doing that,” said Hussain al-Shahristani, Iran’s deputy prime minister for Energy Affairs, at a Paris oil conference. “We have not seen any slowdown in growth.”
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