Oil prices surged in Asian trade today, with Brent crude passing USD 103 as escalating tensions in Libya fuelled concerns over instability spreading across the oil-producing Arab states, analysts said.
Brent North Sea crude for April delivery soared USD 1.02 to USD 103.54 per barrel, and New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, gained USD 1.13 to USD 87.33.
"Both benchmarks have really zoomed ahead this morning. The main driver is really the unrest in the Middle East," said Victor Shum, senior principal for Purvin and Gertz energy consultants in Singapore.
He added that fresh violence in Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member state Libya was igniting fears of instability spreading throughout the key oil-supplying Middle Eastern and North African region.