Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Oil prices surge after BP closes Alaska oil field

BP, the world's second-largest oil company, began shutting down the pipelines on Monday and said it would replace 16 miles of the 22 miles of transit pipeline it operates in the Prudhoe Bay field following a leak discovered Sunday.

Crude prices flared today with Brent futures soaring to a new record high of $US78.64 after BP started closing production from America's biggest oil field.

The incident in Alaska came with prices already on the boil because of supply concerns in major producing countries Iran and Nigeria, violence in the Middle East and strong global demand.

U.S. stocks fell on Monday as surging oil prices fanned worries about inflation and slower economic growth, a day before the Fed's interest-rate meeting.

Traders said the rise in crude could outweigh the positive impact of a much anticipated pause in the Fed's rate-hike campaign at the central bank's policy meeting on Tuesday.

Higher crude oil prices could bring more uncertainty into a volatile stock market.

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