Oil prices spike as Venezuela threatens to cut off oil sales to US

Light, sweet crude for March delivery rose to US$92.11 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midday in Singapore. In London, Brent crude rose to US$92.19 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's threats to cut off oil sales to the United States as a retaliatory measure against legal moves by Exxon Mobil Corp. to seize some Venezuelan assets, has sent oil prices up. ExxonMobil has sought the assets of Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA in American, British and Dutch courts, challenging the nationalization of a multibillion dollar oil project by Chavez's government. A British court has issued an injunction, freezing as much as US$12 bln in assets. Crude oil has also been moving up on news that oil exports from Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer and a major US supplier, could fall by as much as 1 million bpd due to the nation's deteriorating security situation and planned maintenance. Nigeria is locked in a long-running battle with rebels intent on hurting the nation's oil industry infrastructure.
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