Oil jumps after Libyan air strike near oil terminal

March 2, 2011 19:15

NEW YORK, March 2 (Reuters) - Oil rose on Wednesday as escalating violence in Libya threatened the OPEC nation's oil infrastructure and markets braced for a potential prolonged disruption.

Prices jumped to close in on fresh two-and-a-half year highs on news that fresh air strikes hit Brega, about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from a Libyan oil terminal, after Muammar Gaddafi launched a land and air offensive to retake territory in Libya's east.

"It looks like an attack fairly close to what is one of Libya's largest storage and export terminals," said Andy Lebow, trader at MF Global in New York.

"It's hard to say if the Libyan government is trying to target oil infrastructure in the east or whether they're just targeting rebel held areas, but the market's reacting to this threat either way." Brent crude traded up $1.89 to $117.31 a barrel. Brent hit a two-and-a-half year high near $120 a barrel on Feb. 24 on the Libyan crisis.

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