Brent crude oil prices broke the 100 US dollar a barrel mark for the first time in more than two years

Brent crude oil prices broke the 100 US dollar a barrel mark for the first time in more than two years

Brent crude oil prices broke the 100 US dollar (£62.3) a barrel mark for the first time in more than two years following fears that the civil unrest in Egypt would block the Suez Canal.

The price of crude on the futures market rose 63 cents on Monday as prices hit 100.05 US dollars - the highest future price for Brent crude since October 2008.

Oil prices have already risen by more than 15% in 2010 and experts warned that prices of 110 US dollars (£68.5) are not far away as the weak US dollar and high demand continue to push up prices.

Analysts said gas prices will follow oil upwards, with this summer's day-ahead prices set to be 10% higher than at the same time last year.

Emma Pinnock, an analyst at Inenco, said: "The situation in Egypt has caused the market to worry about the flow of oil in the Middle East.

"Oil prices rose by more than 15% during 2010 and 110 US dollars a barrel is looking more likely as we can see similar market conditions to when oil prices reached a record high in 2008."

She added that decisions made by Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in the next few months about how much oil to produce will also have a huge impact on prices.

The price of gas is closely linked to the price of oil and could be expected to follow crude upwards in price, she added.

David Hunter, an analyst at M&C Energy Group, one of the largest purchasers of energy in the UK, said: "The Brent crude oil price has been inching towards the 100 dollars a barrel level for weeks now.

"All traders needed was a specific reason, and the spreading of North African political unrest towards the Middle East has been the catalyst."