Tags: Oil Prices

Gas Pump Prices Jump 8 Cents Over Weekend

Monday, 28 Feb 2011 12:57 PM

Oil prices retreated Monday after their recent surge, as government and industry officials reported that Libya is still exporting at least some crude although strongman Moammar Gadhafi has lost control of the country's oil fields. .

Last week's jump above $100 per barrel continues to send ripples through global pipelines. Gasoline prices shot up by more than 13 cents per gallon last week, and they continued to rise over the weekend. A gallon of regular hit a national average of $3.37 per gallon on Monday, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That is 26.7 cents more than a month ago and 66.4 cents higher than the same time last year.

On Monday oil dropped with reports that a tanker bound for China was loading oil in the Libyan port of Tobruk and Saudi Arabia was boosting exports. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery lost 23 cents at $97.65 per barrel at midday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude fell 30 cents at $111.84 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Traders said they had booked a "fear premium" of about $15 to $20 per barrel to account for further disruptions in oil shipments as pro-reform movements swept through North Africa and the Middle East. Oil prices should slide as the situation in Libya stabilizes, analysts said.

However, energy markets are so rattled right now that continued unrest in other major oil producers, including Algeria and Oman, could keep prices extremely volatile this week.

"The market is going to be on a hair trigger," PFGBest analyst Phil Flynn said. "If something else happens, get ready for prices to shoot back up."

The Arabian Gulf Oil Co., based in Benghazi, told The Associated Press on Monday that its Tobruk terminal is open for business. At least two of the country's major eastern fields, Sarir and Misla, were still producing. Despite the chaos, Arabian Gulf hasn't been forced to cut its daily production of 220,000 barrels, company officials said.

Libya produces about 1.6 million barrels of oil per day, most of it bound for Europe. Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research, said oil prices could cool off this week as rebels strengthen their hold over Libya. Still, further unrest in the region will hold prices artificially high for months to come, making diesel and gasoline more expensive as the world's major economies continue to work their way out of recession.

"One thing we know with oil so high," Lynch said, "is this is not going to be a robust year for the economy."

In other Nymex trading, heating oil for March delivery picked up a penny at $2.9526 per gallon and gasoline futures for March delivery fell 1 cent to $2.9002 per gallon. Natural gas for April delivery added 7 cents at $4.080 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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Oil prices retreated Monday after their recent surge, as government and industry officials reported that Libya is still exporting at least some crude although strongman Moammar Gadhafi has lost control of the country's oil fields. .Last week's jump above $100 per barrel...
Oil Prices
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2011-57-28
Monday, 28 Feb 2011 12:57 PM
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