Oil jumped to the highest level in more than two years as the unrest in Libya escalated, media reported Tuesday.
Brent crude - one of the world's benchmarks for petroleum prices - rose 3.1 percent to $105.70 a barrel in London on Monday. The price of West Texas Intermediate, another benchmark, shot up 6.2 percent to $95.30 per barrel on New York exchanges.
"Oil is being bought on the risk that the political instability will spread through the Middle East," said Jonathan Barratt, managing director of Commodity Broking Services Pty in Sydney.
In a speech on state TV Sunday night, Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, warned protesters that they risked igniting a civil war in which Libya's oil wealth "will be burned."
Libya, the eighth-largest oil producer among those with quotas in OPEC, has Africa’s largest crude reserves.
According to a report Monday evening in the Washington Post, officials from around the world - including Saudi Arabia and the United States - are meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to discuss curbing runaway crude oil prices. (Agencies)