NEW YORK, Feb 25 (AFP): Oil prices spiked on world markets yesterday as an attempted suicide car bomb attack against a major Saudi oil facility reignited supply concerns.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi said that output from the world's number one producer was unaffected by a foiled "terrorist" attack against a processing plant in the oil-rich Eastern Province.
At least two would-be attackers were killed when they were stopped by security forces, oil sources said.
Still, the uncertainty added support to prices, which were already surging on supply concerns over Nigeria, Iran and Iraq.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, soared 2.37 dollars to 62.91 dollars per barrel in closing trading after spiking as high as 63.25 dollars.
In London, the price of Brent North Sea crude for April delivery gained 2.06 dollars to end at 62.60 dollars per barrel.
James Williams at WTRG Energy said the market was especially sensitive to the Saudi incident.
Bill O'Grady at AG Edwards added that the attack "clearly signals that Al-Qaeda is concentrating on oil, and not the government."
Fimat analyst Mike Fitzpatrick said the Saudi incident added to jitters stemming from religious strife in Nigeria and concerns about Iraq and Iran.
Last weekend separatist guerrillas in Nigeria attacked the country's Forcados oil terminal run by energy giant Royal Dutch Shell.
Analysts say that tension over Iran's nuclear programme could lead to disruption of the country's oil exports.
A senior UN nuclear inspector was meanwhile heading for Tehran Saturday for talks days before a pivotal report on Iran's nuclear activities.
The incident in Saudi Arabia was the first known attempted attack on an oil installation in the world's top crude exporter, which has been battling a wave of violence by suspected Al-Qaeda militants since May 2003.
A Saudi security expert said last September that the kingdom, which sits on a quarter of global oil reserves, had boosted spending on the protection of its oil industry to as much as 1.5 billion dollars per year.