Oil prices jumped more than 3 percent on Monday as one of Royal Dutch Shell’s offshore oil platforms was raided in Nigeria, affecting the largest oil producer in Africa.
Light, sweet crude for August delivery gained 2.33 dollars, or 3.4 percent, to settle at 71.49 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The contract rose as high as 71.92 dollars a barrel after the Shell company confirmed that its offshore oil platform had been attacked and partly shut down in Nigeria, just on the heels of another pipeline attack last week.
The Nigerian militants have escalated their activities recently, forcing foreign oil companies, including U.S. oil giant Chevron and Italy’s Agip, to cut at least 133,000 barrels per day of oil production in the last month.
The day’s gains were capped by the news that the International Energy Agency lowered the global demand forecast in its latest report. The Paris-based organization said the global demand for crude oil could not return to last year’s levels until 2012 because of sluggish economic growth.
In London, Brent crude for August delivery rose 2.08 dollars, or 3 percent, to 71.00 dollars a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.