Oil prices volatile in bubbly trade

NEW YORK, March 28, 2008 (AFP) – World oil prices fell sharply Friday on renewed concern that a slowdown in the US economy would dampen energy demand and on news that damage to an Iraqi pipeline was not as serious as first thought.

New York crude values dropped under 106 dollars a barrel, a day after spiking above 107 dollars when it was announced that saboteurs had attacked a pipeline in Iraq, which heightened concerns over tight global supplies of energy.

New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, closed down 1.96 dollars at 105.62 dollars per barrel.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for May delivery settled down 1.23 dollars at 103.77 dollars.

“Oil futures slid as markets once again refocused on US economic concerns as it was suggested that oil flow through the damaged Iraqi pipeline may be almost back to normal,” said Sucden analyst Michael Davies.

“Despite the speedy turnaround, it remains clear that markets will remain nervous that we could see more disruptions in the region following the explosion of fighting in the area,” he added.

One of Iraq’s two main oil export pipelines near the southern city of Basra was blown up on Thursday amid escalating fighting.

Dav