LIBYA: Moammar Kadafi may sabotage oil pipelines, report says
Worry spread Wednesday that Moammar Kadafi has ordered security forces to destroy his country's valuable oil pipelines after a report in Time magazine.
The report, from Time columnist Robert Baer, was repeated on television networks throughout the region and cited an anonymous source close to the Kadafi regime saying the strongman has ordered the security services to start sabotaging oil facilities, cutting off flow to the Mediterranean ports.
"The sabotage, according to the insider, is meant to serve as a message to Libya's rebellious tribes: It's either me or chaos," Baer reported, noting that his source has been wrong in the past and said two weeks ago the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt would never touch Libya.
The U.S. benchmark oil price briefly hit $100 a barrel on Wednesday as the revolt in Libya escalated, raising new fears about reduced supplies from the world’s 12th-largest oil exporter, The Times' Tom Petruno reported.
Edward Meir, senior commodity analyst at MF Global in New York, said the latest jump in crude prices reflected traders' belief that "it is just a matter of time before all [Libyan] exports are shut down."
-- Garrett Therolf
Photo: This April 28, 2008, image shows production facilities of the German oil firm Wintershall near the Oasis of Jakhira in the Libyan desert. Wintershall said Wednesday it had stopped oil production in Libya due to the security situation in the country. Credit: AFP / Getty Images