Oil prices higher in Asian trade on Nigerian unrest


SINGAPORE–Oil prices moved higher in Asian trade Friday amid the threat of a production shutdown in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crude producer. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in February gained 87 cents to US$99.97 in afternoon trade. Brent North Sea crude for February was up US$1.08 at US$112.34. “Geopolitical supply side issues continue to be the key bullish factor affecting oil prices,” said Victor Shum, senior principal at Purvin and Gertz in Singapore. “Besides Iran, the more immediate concern that could affect supply are the strikes in Nigeria” Nigerian oil workers vowed Thursday to shut down production this weekend as a national strike entered its fifth day.

Talks between labour leaders and President Goodluck Johnathan made progress but were not enough to call off the industrial action. Both sides are scheduled to meet again on Saturday — with oil workers planning to shut down production at midnight if no deal is reached.