(New York) Oil prices rocketed toward record levels today as tensions over the Iranian nuclear program and possible US military action - including tactical nuclear strikes - created a climate of jittery investors.
Adding to the unsettled Middle East picture was the specter of continuing supply disruptions in Nigeria.
U.S. crude rose $1.35 cents to $68.74, threatening to close in on last August's $70.85 record. London's Brent North Sea crude was up $1.64 to $68.93.
"The market had become a bit too comfortable expecting a diplomatic solution in Iran," said Tobin Gorey, commodities strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. "Whether it ever comes to military action or not, it certainly shakes some complacency out of the market."
Some industry analysts believe that oil may hit $85 per barrel during the peak summer demand, which could send gasoline prices skyrocketing to $3.50 a gallon or more in the US.