Two cent was added to the cost of a litre of petrol at a number of forecourts around the country from this morning.

Listeners to Morning Ireland have reported prices as high as €1.52 in south Dublin, though the majority report a two cent increase to €1.519 which compared with just under €1.50 yesterday.

A spokesman for Topaz said increases at its forecourts were entirely due to the violent turmoil in Libya, which had pushed the international price of oil to two and a half year highs.

Oil prices stay high on Libya unrest

Brent crude prices rose above $118 a barrel and US prices pushed to their highest level since September 2008 today, before giving up some gains in volatile trading.

Oil prices have been lifted by Libya's conflict and the threat of wider supply disruptions in the Middle East.

In addition to supply shut in by the Libyan fighting, estimated to be about one million barrels per day, the prospect of unrest spreading to larger producers, such as Saudi Arabia, has kept investors concerned about the potential for more disruptions.

Oil traders in New York and London said prices fell back from the early peaks as some participants decided to lock in profits and on rumours that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was trying to negotiate an exit from Libya.

Brent crude was up 62 cents at $116.59 a barrel, pulling back from their earlier $118.50 peak. US crude was 85 cents higher at $105.27 a barrel, off an earlier high of $106.95, which was the highest level since September 26, 2008.