Oil Prices Rise Above $60 A Barrel Amid Libya Concerns

Oil prices climbed to a yearly high on Tuesday, rising above $60 a barrel for the first time in 2015 amid supply concerns in Libya.

According to the New York Times, oil prices spiked on Tuesday, rising $1.47 to close at $60.40 a barrel amid reports that an oil terminal in Libya had been shuttered. The closing price marked the highest level for crude oil since a previous peak in early December. Brent crude, meanwhile, rose $1.07 to close at $67.52 in London.

On Tuesday, reports emerged that Libyan oil exports had been hampered by protests which stopped the flow of crude to the oil port of Zueitina, Fox Business reports. The port was one of the few in Libya still exporting oil, amid fighting and disruptions that have occurred since former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power.

Mohamed El Harari, spokesman for state oil firm NOC, noted that protesters had closed an oil pipeline leading into the port. Libya currently produces roughly 500,000 barrels of oil per day, just a third of what it generated before 2010. El Harari also noted that several eastern Libyan oil fields would be forced to close.

Though the oil market is very well supplied, with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) generating nearly 2 million barrels per day, it has been kept on edge by civil war in Yemen, as the Inquisitr has previously reported. The conflict represents a risk that production from Saudi Arabia, which is situated to the north of Yemen, or other Middle East Gulf states may be disrupted. On Monday, however, the Saudi foreign minister noted that an alliance led by the kingdom may suspend bombing in some areas of Yemen to allow the influx of humanitarian aid.

Rising oil prices also translated into gains for the Ruble, as Reuters reports. The Russian currency is up 16 percent against the dollar in 2015, however, threatening to inflate the country’s budget deficit due to its relation to oil revenues. Brent crude oil remains an important driver for all Russian assets, and the country’s markets posted gains on Tuesday, helped along not only by strong oil prices but also the rising Ruble.

[Photo by David McNew / Getty Images]