As you know by now, forces in the camp of Libya's longtime dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, proverbially took it on the chin Sunday from air attacks by an allied coalition. Indeed, the state-controlled media in Libya maintains that a minimum of 64 deaths have occurred as a result of the strikes, while at least another 150 have been wounded.
Gadhafi warned Sunday on Libyan state television: "We will exterminate every traitor and collaborator with American, British, France, and the crusader coalition." He also promised that they "shall be exterminated in Benghazi or any other place."
The key concerns in the West -- and obviously among Foolish investors -- are the effects that events in Libya will have on the world's crude oil prices. Beyond that, those concerns likely will increase substantially, given a spread of the Middle East unrest to other countries, such as Saudi Arabia. In the meantime, the International Energy Agency said last week that Libya's oil exports, which averaged about 1.3 million barrels a day last year, essentially have "ground to a halt."
At this juncture, concern about an uprising in Saudi Arabia is being fostered by events in neighboring Bahrain and Yemen. The Saudis currently control about a fifth of the world's proven oil reserves and export more petroleum liquids than any other country. As such, any sort of curtailment of those exports would be catastrophic for global oil prices.
Thus far, the country's production hasn't been affected. In fact, Baker Hughes
Other companies with a Saudi presence include oilfield services providers Schlumberger
On Monday, Bahrain's king announced that a "foreign plot" targeting his country -- which is separated from Saudi Arabia by a 15-mile causeway -- had been thwarted.
Meanwhile, for the second time in less than a month, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, obviously attempting to head off the spread of the Arab world's unrest to the kingdom, promised reforms and cash for residents. In late February, the 87-year-old king returned from overseas medical treatment and immediately showered his subjects with an estimated $37 billion largesse.
In the meantime, about all that we can do is keep our fingers crossed that the Saudis are spared uprisings of their own. And given the renewed creep of crude prices, all Foolish watchlists should include oil and gas producers, along with members of the oilfield services sector.
We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the above-named companies. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.