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Qatar blames regional unrest for oil price

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DOHA, Qatar, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Global energy markets appear to be reacting to the political unrest unfolding in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, the Qatari oil minister said.

Qatari Oil Minister Mohammed al-Sada said oil markets were reacting to unrest in the Middle East by pushing the price of crude oil to more than $100 per barrel on some markets for the first time since the global recession hit in 2008.

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"Although Egypt is a small oil producer, it plays a big role in the economy of the Middle East," he was quoted by the Platts news service as saying through a spokesman.

The International Energy Agency said last week that political unrest in Egypt is creating uncertainty in the energy markets but noted oil prices have risen steadily since at least September.

The IEA said oil and gas facilities in Egypt aren't susceptible to the political turmoil because most installations are far from major population centers.

Any disruption to the shipping lanes in the Suez Canal could have dramatic impacts on oil and natural gas markets, though there were no disruptions despite the political turmoil. Though any Suez disruption would delay oil shipments, it wouldn't remove oil from the market.

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