Libyan Crisi

Tensions in the Middle East plus transportation constraints: Where art thou going, oil prices?
The oil picture is always complex, but right now things are about as complicated as they can get. The unrest in Egypt has settled, but the future there is not yet clear, as the military takes control on promises of free elections. Tensions are rising in Algeria, where the unofficial unemployment rate is along the lines of 40% and protesters are demanding change. Yemen, Bahrain, and Oman are unsettled, to say the least. And now Libya is embroiled in the most violent protests to rock the Middle East during the current wave of uprisings, with 41-year ruler Colonel Muammar Gaddafi using snipers and helicopters to shoot down protestors in the capital city Tripoli and sending fighter jets to fire missiles at rebel forces.
Unrest in Egypt mattered because of the Suez Canal and the Suez-Mediterranean Pipeline, which together transport almost 2 million barrels of oil per day. Protests in Libya and Algeria – with Libya inching closer and closer to full revolution status – matter because both are important oil producers and key suppliers to Europe. Algeria produces some 1.4 million barrels of crude each day, while Libya spits out 1.6 million barrels a day. Libya is Africa’s third largest oil producer after Nigeria and Angola and has the largest crude oil reserves on the continent, concentrated in the massive Sirte Basin.
That production is now threatened. Global oil companies are pulling their employees out of Libya, rebel forces are taking control of ports and pipelines, and Gaddafi is focusing his eastern counter offensive on oil refinery towns like Marsa El Brega.
During the first week of the Libyan crisis, estimates of