Historic Highs

LONDON, Apr.18 (AFP) – World oil prices hit record peaks on Tuesday above 72.0 dollars in London and close to 71.0 dollars in New York as the market fretted over possible military conflict between the United States and Iran. The price of New York’s light sweet crude hit a historic high of 70.88 dollars per barrel, beating the previous record 70.85 dollars set on August 30, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina had ravaged oil facilities on the US Gulf Coast.

Also Tuesday, the price of Brent North Sea crude oil hit a record 72.20 dollars per barrel as the market feared that an attack on Iran could lead to a disruption of its oil exports.

Washington accuses Iran, the world’s fourth biggest crude producer, of working secretly to build nuclear weapons under cover of a nuclear energy programme it is developing with Russian assistance.

Iran denies this charge and says the programme is strictly for producing nuclear energy.

Tensions over Iran come at a time of strong demand for energy.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Tuesday that global oil demand grew by almost one million barrels per day in 2005.

At about 1120 GMT New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, h