Crude oil prices scaled a new peak near $130 a barrel yesterday amid deepening worries over tight global stockpiles and signals from Opec that no additional supplies are forthcoming to ease the crunch.

Billionaire investor T. Boone Pickens yesterday said he expects oil to hit $150 a barrel this year. The prediction came on the same day two investment banks raised their 2008 crude price forecasts and two weeks after Goldman Sachs said a barrel could fetch $200 by 2010.

"There's a feeling that some of these forecasts of $150 oil might be right, so why not buy it now rather than later?" said Peter Beutel, president of Cameron Hanover.

US crude oil futures gained $1.85 to $128.90 a barrel by 1:32 p.m. EDT (1732 GMT) after hitting a high of $129.60 a barrel during the session. London Brent crude rose $2.34 to $127.40 a barrel.

Oil prices have risen six-fold since 2002 amid surging demand in China and other developing economies.

Opec members have repeatedly rebuffed calls for more supplies from consumer nations hard hit by the inflation in fuel costs, saying the rally is due to rampant speculation and not to any supply shortage.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us