Oil prices remained volatile in Asian trade on Friday, as traders became cautious that unrest in Saudi Arabia could intensify and disrupt oil production in the world’s largest oil exporter.
Light sweet crude for April delivery traded at $102.67 a barrel at 12.30 p.m Singapore time on Friday. The contract was down $1.68, or 1.6 percent to settle at $102.70 a barrel on New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday.
Brent crude was up 7 cents to trade at $115.50 a barrel in London on Friday. On Thursday, Brent crude lost 51 cents to $115.43 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.
On Thursday, Police in Saudi Arabia fired on protesters and launched stun grenades at them in the Shiite-dominated city of Qatif, according to the Associated Press.
The minority Shiite population, responsible for much of the unrest in Saudi Arabia lately, alleges discrimination against them on the part of the Sunni government.
Saudi government officials have maintained that protests are illegal. However, various pro-democracy groups in the country have planned protests on Friday, to demand reforms to the monarchy.
Analysts said that any disruption to the oil supplies from Saudi Arabia would send the oil prices up from the current levels.