World oil prices hit record US$78 Friday amid concerns over situations in the Middle East.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, rose by 33 percents to close at US$77.03 a barrel, after hitting US$78.40 in overnight electronic trading.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for August delivery surged by 58 percents to close with US$77.27 a barrel.
Israel imposed an air and sea blockade on Lebanon and pounded Nasrallah's house and the headquarters of Hezbollah near the capital Beirut Friday. Hezbollah militia bombarded an Israeli navy ship off Beirut Friday evening.
Traders are still concerned about the possibilities that Iran's oil exports would halt if the United Nations imposes Teheran an international sanction for its nuclear activities. Iran is OPEC's No. 2 producer behind Saudi Arabia, making 4 million bpd of oil and exporting 2.4 million bpd.
Meanwhile, about one-fourth of Nigeria's daily output is still shut after a series of militant attacks. Nigeria is Africa's leading oil producer and the fifth biggest source of US oil imports.
The US Energy Department reported Wednesday that crude oil reserves fell by 6 million barrels to 335.3 million, compared with a forecasted drop of just 1.3 million barrels.
(Xinhua News Agency July 15, 2006)