Oil up in Asia on Libya tensions

Oil up in Asia on Libya tensions SINGAPORE: Crude rose in Asian trade Tuesday as the turmoil in Libya continued to rattle investor sentiment, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, gained 30 cents to $102.63 per barrel while Brent North Sea crude for May was up 43 cents to $115.39.

"Currently, we still have tensions in the Middle East underpinning oil prices. Investors are expecting that Libyan oil is not returning to the markets any time soon," said Ong Yi Ling, investment analyst for Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Oil-rich Libya was producing 1.69 million barrels a day before the unrest, according to the International Energy Agency. It is now producing 400,000 barrels a day.

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's Tripoli compound was rocked by blasts late Monday, his southern strongholds targeted and a navy base bombed as the US-European coalition sought to pin down Kadhafi's military and protect Libya's civilians and opposition.

The intervention by French, American and British forces in Libya has hobbled loyalist forces but offers little hint of how the situation will be resolved.

"A stalemate at current positions leaves most of the oil export ports in the hands of the Kadhafi regime," noted PetroMatrix analyst Olivier Jakob in Zurich.

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