The price of oil inched higher above $104 a barrel Wednesday as the conflicts in Ukraine and Libya posed renewed risks to crude supplies.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for July delivery was up 16 cents to $104.27 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, the Nymex contract fell 24 cents to close at $104.11.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 13 cents to $110.15 on the ICE exchange in London.
Markets are uneasy about the conflict in Ukraine, a key conduit for Russian gas to reach Europe. Russia's acceptance of the result of Sunday's presidential election was seen as a sign of easing tensions but more fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists in the east made clear the situation still is uncertain.
"The escalating crisis in Ukraine continues to dominate the market in the short-term until there is a clear resolution to the political issues in the region," said Myrto Sokou of Sucden Financial Research in London.
In Libya, which has been unable to stabilize since the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, the National Oil Corp. said crude exports stood at 160,000 barrels a day, down from 1.4 million barrels a day a year ago. Several key export facilities are controlled by militias who do not recognize the central government.
Libyan crude output was set to fall even more after militias blocked the loading of tankers at a terminal which had recently reopened, analysts said.