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Oil prices top $100 a barrel as Libyan unrest fuels fears

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NEW YORK  >> The price of oil rose above $100 a barrel today for the first time since October 2008.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude on Wednesday rose $4.59 to $100.01 in afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which can be shipped around the world and better reflects global demand, hit $100 per barrel on Jan. 31 and is now approaching $112.

Prices have jumped in the past week as protesters in Libya clashed with supporters of Moammar Gadhafi and appeared to gain control over parts of the country. Oil companies working in Libya have pulled workers and idled production operations that provide oil and gas mainly to Europe.

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