updated 3/11/2011 8:47:11 AM ET 2011-03-11T13:47:11

The White House says President Barack Obama will address rising oil and gasoline prices at a news conference on Friday.

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Fuel prices have been rising amid continued turmoil in Libya, an oil-producing country.

News that police opened fire to break up a protest Thursday afternoon in Saudi Arabia also has sparked fears that the unrest could spread to that country. Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil exporter.

Video: U.S. treading lightly with Libya (on this page)

Oil prices soared $3 per barrel in just 12 minutes after the news broke in Saudi Arabia.

At the pump, gasoline is averaging $3.52 a gallon — 41 cents more than last month.

Obama's news conference is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. Eastern time. It will be his second full news conference of the year.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Libyan oil port forms front line of battle

  1. Closed captioning of: Libyan oil port forms front line of battle

    >>> now we turn overseas to the story we've been covering here in libya , the rebels battling for control of that country. they encountered fierce new resistance from gadhafi 's forces in several key oil towns. nbc's stephanie gosk is in the rebel-held town of tobruk. stephanie , good evening.

    >> reporter: good evening, brian. well, the fighting in the strategic part of libya seemed to have stalled the last couple of days, but today pro- gadhafi forces launched a fierce attack. the rebels holding the small desert town of ras lanuf were hit so hard today by pro- gadhafi forces, there was nothing left to do but turn and run. the government is making its move into rebel-held east libya , and the front line is moving with it.

    >> it's time for liberation. it's time for action. we are moving now.

    >> reporter: in the last week, both sides have fought for control of two of the country's largest oil facilities. it was only a matter of time before it led to this. the ras lanuf oil terminal in flames. on wednesday, libya 's oil minister said production has been cut by two-thirds since the unrest began, but that the government was still firmly in control of the country's resources. not exactly, say these oil workers. this is the oil terminal in tobruk, eastern libya . it's one of the few active ports and refineries. peaceful, operational, and completely rebel-held. the oil is pumped from 300 miles away deep in the desert through this pipe. you can actually feel it coming through here, but they have had to slow down the flow because the oil tankers aren't regularly coming into port. the tankers are slowly returning. two have already left this month carrying 1.6 million barrels, worth more than $160 million. money that used to go to gadhafi 's government. now it is going to the opposition. this man has worked here as a safety specialist for 20 years.

    >> i think the money is going to go to the libyan people. the people who are really in need of the money.

    >> reporter: but in his hands he carries the picture of a young man killed in the battle of ras lanuf, a reminder that just west of here, the fight for control of the oil and the country still rages. the oil workers were so eager to show us they are producing oil they actually gave me some. libya has some of the highest quality oil in the world. they aren't giving much more than this away for free, brian.

    >> all right, stephanie gosk in libya for us tonight. stephanie , thanks.

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