LONDON, April 5 (Reuters) - Oil prices could rocket to $200- $300 a barrel if the world's top crude exporter Saudi Arabia is hit by serious political unrest, former Saudi oil minister Sheikh Zaki Yamani told Reuters on Tuesday.
Yamani said he saw no immediate sign of further trouble following protests last month calling for political reforms but said that underlying discontent remained unresolved.
"If something happens in Saudi Arabia it will go to $200 to $300. I don't expect this for the time being, but who would have expected Tunisia?" Yamani told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference of the Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES) which he chairs.
"The political events that took place are there and we don't expect them to finish. I think there are some surprises on the horizon," he said in a speech.
Saudi King Abdullah offered $93 billion in handouts in March in an effort to stave off unrest rocking the Arab world.
So far, demonstrations in the Kingdom have been small in scale and police were able to easily disperse a Shi'ite protest in the oil-producing eastern province last month.
But Yamani said that the reluctance of people to participate in popular protests was merely concealing underlying discontent.
"Some people relax about the situation in Saudi Arabia because the Saudi Islamic brand prohibits people to go to the street and to talk," he said in a speech.
SAUDI TIME BOMB
Oil traded at two-and-a-half-year highs above $121 a barrel LCOc1 on Tuesday. Libya's rebellion has shut its oil exports, stoking fears of disruptions in other major producers.