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Is Yemen the new catalyst for oil?

A floor hand for Raven Drilling, works on an oil rig drilling into the Bakken shale formation outside Watford City, North Dakota.
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A floor hand for Raven Drilling, works on an oil rig drilling into the Bakken shale formation outside Watford City, North Dakota.

Oil prices ratcheted up on Thursday on news that Saudi Arabia launched a military operation in neighboring Yemen, however analysts remain skeptical that geopolitical tensions will sustain the rally.

Brent crude oil futures rose almost 6 percent to as high as $59.71 a barrel, before settling around $58.30.

"It's understandable this has stirred up the market a little bit, but at this point it's really just a knee jerk reaction," Victor Shum, vice president, IHS Energy Insight told CNBC.

"There is no disruption of physical crude oil supply. In any case, crude exports out of Yemen are quite small," he said.

Supply-demand still key

Broader supply-demand dynamics in the oil market will likely remain the key driver for oil, Shum said.

"There's a lot of crude in the market looking for buyers. It's a buyer's market today. Even if Yemen's crude supply is disrupted, there will be no problem for its customers to find alternative supplies," he said.

Shum says the risk to his prognosis is if there is an escalation in geopolitical tensions that leads a disruption of global oil trade flows.

Read MoreSaudi Arabia, allies launch air campaign in Yemen

While Yemen is a relatively small oil producer, it is significant to global energy trade because of its location at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula on the Bab el-Mandab, a strategic shipping lane.

More than 3.4 million barrels of oil per day passed through Bab el-Mandab in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

"That would be a risk to the oil price, right now there isn't such a threat," he said.

Short-term reaction

Daniel Ang, investment analyst at Phillip Futures also dismissed Thursday's move in oil prices as a short-term reaction.

"The market is reacting to the possibility that these conflicts could effect both regional production as well as energy trade routes," he said. "But overall, global supply is very strong."

"We do expect to see heavy resistance at $58.15 for Brent May'15 should [prices] persist to move up," he added.

Wake up call?

Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance Securities, has a different view.

Barratt believes the upswing in oil prices could be a "wake up call" for net oil importers to stock up on crude before it moves higher.

"Oil consuming nations who haven't bought before might step in, and this could act as a support for oil prices," he said.