Syria Conflict and the Oil Market: Best and Worst Case Scenarios (+video)

Photo Credit: US Navy

Photo Credit: US Navy

Western military strikes on Syria present a complex set of possible outcomes, and all of them make problems for energy markets to one degree or another. But some scenarios are worse than others.

Despite an abundance of oil supplies—and the fact that Syria is a minor oil producer, at best—the global market for crude has been dominated for a week by worries about the Middle Eastern country. U.S. oil hit a two-year high above $112 on Wednesday, after closing below $104 on Aug. 21, the day that the Syrian military is believed to have used chemical weapons against rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad. Hundreds of civilians died in the attacks.

Since then the United States has intensified its naval presence in the region, and increasingly hostile rhetoric has spilled from allied capitals, including Washington, London, Paris and Ankara, Turkey. Given Syria’s geographical location and the multitude of countries and non-national actors with interests in Syria’s brutal 2½-year-old civil war, market watchers and others are asking themselves, where is this conflict headed?

CNBC asked a group of Middle East, economic and energy experts for their opinions, and came away with possible worst-case and “least bad-case” scenarios.

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