Singapore (Agencies): Oil prices escalated in Asian trade on Monday, with Brent crude whizzing USD 103 as uprising in Libya fuelled concerns over instability spreading across the oil-producing Arab states, analysts said.

"Both benchmarks have really zoomed ahead this morning. The main driver is really the unrest in the Middle East," said Victor Shum, senior principal for Purvin and Gertz energy consultants in Singapore.

"Libya is a member of OPEC and even though Libya's oil production isn't very significant on a global basis, it's really threatening close to the main suppliers of crude oil to the world, mainly Middle East and North Africa," he added.

He said that fresh violence in Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member state Libya was igniting fears of instability spreading throughout the key oil-supplying Middle Eastern and North African region.

Intense gunfire was heard early morning in the heart of the Libyan capital Tripoli and several quarters of the city as Saif al-Islam Kadhafi, the son of strongman Moamer Kadhafi, warned that the embattled nation was on the verge of civil war.