Oil climbs to highest since 2008 on Libya conflict

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil rose to a 30-month high on Thursday as fighters loyal to Moammar Gadhafi pushed back rebels from key areas in eastern Libya.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rose $2.45, more than 2 percent, to settle at $106.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. At one point it hit $106.83, the highest it’s been since September, 2008. In London, Brent crude rose $2.25 to settle at $117.20 per barrel.

Battles between Gadhafi’s troops and rebels have seesawed back and forth in Libyan ports and towns since mid-February, with the price of oil rising more than $20 a barrel since then. Energy consultants Cameron Hanover said traders are beginning to view the Libya uprising as a standoff for now. ‘Without control of the air, Gadhafi’s troops have been unable to hammer home their gains. And, without strong and well-trained ground forces, the rebels seem incapable of holding onto their gains. Optimism that Libyan oil might return to the market, seen earlier this week, was dashed.”

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