Petrol prices in UK may hit £2 a litre

Petrol prices could soar to £2 a litre if the instability in Libya and neighbouring countries escalates, a Government minister has warned.

Alan Duncan, a former oil trader, suggested the price of crude could top 200 dollars a barrel – significantly above the current record of 147 dollars a barrel from July 2008.

In a worst-case scenario where terrorists exploit the turmoil in the Gulf to bomb tankers and reserves, the price could even nudge 250 dollars, which would leave UK motorists paying some £2.03 at the pumps.

The dire warning, in an interview with The Times, came as the situation in Libya appeared to be worsening.

Rebels and government forces have clashed near a key oil terminal and forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have attacked a town near Tripoli.

“I’ve been saying in Government for two months that if this does go wrong, £1.30 at the pump could look like a luxury,” Mr Duncan said. “USD200 is on the cards if… anyone is reckless and foments unrest.”

The international development minister added: “It could be very serious. If crude oil doubles, you’re going to have a serious spike (in petrol prices). Try living without it for a week.”

Interpol has issued a worldwide alert against Gaddafi and 15 of his close associates, as the international community continues to ratchet up the pressure on the dictator. The international police agency’s “orange notice” describes the regime figures as individuals who have been identified “as being involved in or complicit in planning attacks, including aerial bombardments, on civilian populations”.

They include seven of his sons, among them Saif, and his daughter Aisha, as well the defence minister, the head of external security, the director of military intelligence and Gaddafi’s head bodyguard.

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that British troops are on stand-by for deployment to Libya but stressed that the troops are prepared to assist with humanitarian and evacuation operations, not combat.
Source: Press Association

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