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North African Turmoil Could Rocket Crude to $220

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Matt Egan
Fox Business
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

If the turmoil paralyzing parts of the Middle East and North Africa brings oil production in Libya and Algeria to a standstill, it could cause crude oil to explode to $220 a barrel, derailing the global economic recovery.

According to a new report from Tokyo-based Nomura, a simultaneous production halt from embattled Libya and neighboring Algeria would reduce OPEC spare capacity to 2.1 million barrels a day and may cause crude to spike from about $97 a barrel today to $220 a barrel.

“The closest comparison is the 1990-1991 Gulf War,” the Nomura analysts, led by Michael Lo, wrote, saying crude prices leaped 70% in seven months when OPEC’s spare capacity was cut to just 1.8 million barrels a day during that conflict with oil-rich Iraq.

While the $220 figure may sound high, Nomura said it could be an underestimate as speculative oil traders who were not around during the Gulf War may exaggerate the surge during an oil production halt.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm





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