How Mideast turmoil affects oil prices. Six questions answered

From the first spark of Middle East unrest in Tunisia in December until the violent suppression of protests in Libya in late February, the price of a barrel of crude oil rose from $88 a barrel to more than $100. Here’s a rundown on oil supply-price issues affecting the US.

4. What if Saudi Arabia were to face similar protests – would that change the oil market in a big way?

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
Traders work the crude oil options pit at the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 in New York.

Everything could change in a heartbeat with oil prices soaring if Saudi Arabia experiences political instability or any curbing of its oil flow to world markets, experts say.

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