(EnergyAsia, May 7, Wednesday) — US crude oil futures set a new high of US$122.73 per barrel on Tuesday, a day after breaking the US$120-level for the first time. It settled at $121.84 at the end of the New York trading day. North Sea Brent crude also hit a new high of $120.99 before closing at $121.84.

The market is increasingly worried about scarce oil supplies, worsening geopolitical conflicts in oil producing countries like Nigeria and Iraq, the weakening US dollar, declining oil production in Russia and Mexico, rising demand in the Middle East, China and India, and the lack of new discoveries.

Adding panic to sentiments, there are growing talks that the US military is poised to strike against Iran.

Libya’s acting oil minister Chukri Ghanem said members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have hit their production ceiling and will not be able to add to world supplies despite the high prices.

US crude oil broke through the US$100-per-barrel for the first time on the first trading day of 2008.

Prices have surged more than 20% since then.

Some analysts believe it will rise to US$200 per barrel over the next five years.