Oil prices rise on Algerian hostage drama

The country is the No. 4 crude oil producer in Africa. Traders worry about supply issues and political instability in the region.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 17, 2013 12:56PM
Image: Oil drums (Kevin Phillips/Digital Vision/age fotostock)Oil prices hit a four-month high Thursday, propped up by bullish U.S. economic data and worries about supply amid the hostage drama in Algeria.

According to Bloomberg News, oil futures for February delivery climbed as high as $95.43 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest intra-day price since Sept. 19. Traders were reacting to better-than-expected housing start data and last week's drop in applications for unemployment benefits, which was the lowest since January 2008, the news service says.

Traders are also worried about political instability in Algeria following reports that six foreign hostages and eight of their captors were killed in a botched rescue attempt at a remote gas plant. Other reports say 50 hostages managed to escape. Some hostages continue to be held by gunmen aligned with Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a senior commander of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb until late last year, according to the BBC.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Algeria was was the fourth-largest crude oil producer in Africa in 2010 after Nigeria, Angola, and Libya. Anadarko (APC), BP (BP) and ConocoPhilips (COP) are among the foreign firms with investments in the country.  The country also is a leading producer of natural gas.

Of course, the last thing the fragile economic recovery needs is a huge spike in oil prices.

--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr

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Jan 17, 2013 4:44PM

"The country is the No. 4 oil producer in the world. Traders worry about supply issues and political instability in the region."


And what exactly does this have to do with oil prices at this point in time?? Reports came out a few weeks ago stating the the U.S. supplies were up, well above average for this time of year. The rest of the world also is well-supplied due to low demand, i.e., crappy economy. What happened to 'supply and demand'?? The traders, oil producers, and refineries are screwing us, end of story.

that is bullsheeet. maybe france need to invade wall street and taken the theives hostage. they cant buy their way out of hell
Jan 17, 2013 4:40PM

Right! My dog crapped in a different part of the yard this morning, causing immediate global instability and an immediate threat to global oil supplies........




Jan 17, 2013 4:27PM
Geeze.......more oil talk.......here is news......I farted.......woooooops, better raise the price of gas!

The story a couple of days ago says that "gas prices are going down" and that was the day after the story read "gas prices going up". Such efn bull$$hit!

I am sick of it!

Jan 17, 2013 4:25PM
I wonder how much it cost the oil companies to pay the Islamic militants to do so this so they could obtain higher oil prices?  Maybe the Saudi's also had a role. 
Jan 17, 2013 4:23PM
Be careful I think wall street is setting some bait out there so people with money market and bond cash take it out and put it back in the stock market, then when you think all is well it will drop like a 20 ton ancor and those leeches on wall street will siphon that cash faster then a electron in motion.
Jan 17, 2013 4:18PM
These jerks will use anything to jack up OIL prices...don't worry though if it wasn't the "hostage crisis" they would raise it anyway next month because we they are buying "summer fuel" & pass the increase to us in February.  OIL is nothing but a scam to screw all of us & the sooner Washington does something about the better....oh wait, all the politicians have their hands in Big Oil so basically we are screwed.
Jan 17, 2013 4:13PM

People looking for "suppy/demand" to rule the pricing of commodities are going to be dissapointed.  The only rule in commodities is the price has to MOVE.  Up or down, doesn't really matter.  Some are betting long, some betting short.  It's just the way it is.


Jan 17, 2013 3:51PM
Of course. Something that has absolutely nothing to do with oil causes the price to rise. Go figure!!
Jan 17, 2013 3:44PM
Oh, hey today is Thursday Jan 17. Because it is an odd day of the month, oil prices are going up. And tomorrow the oil prices will go up because the wind is blowing in Chicago. It takes nothing for them to raise the price of oil.
Jan 17, 2013 3:37PM
Hey idiots, im sick and need to take a crap.  You going to raise oil prices over that. I wish I could live long enough to see the oil run out and you all be out of a job. Wont be any welfare for ya due to Obama's spending.
Jan 17, 2013 3:28PM

F**KED AGAIN! Do your asses not hurt people from the screwing we keep getting from the oil co. & govt.?

Mine sure does!

Jan 17, 2013 2:42PM

A dog pee'd in the ocean and the price of oil raised 12%, they were afraid he contaminated the water!


Jan 17, 2013 2:40PM
this is total b.s.  and we are dumb enough to belive it.
Jan 17, 2013 2:35PM
Oil is up 1.65%.  Yet the U.S. still pays less than half of what gasoline costs in Europe and natural gas prices are 1/3rd. of what they are in Europe.  The sky is not falling.  If you want to worry about something worry about our national debt!
Jan 17, 2013 2:29PM
Of course...every time somebody craps..the price of oil goes up.  Wipe em off the face of the Earth! Oh is that politically incorrect?  Tough S
Jan 17, 2013 2:14PM

drill morer oil  the us stop stealing from us tax payers


Jan 17, 2013 1:58PM
i crapped wrong this morning so you can lower them now, idiots any freak in excuse.
Jan 17, 2013 1:35PM
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