Oil prices bubble higher

August 4, 2008

, LONDON, August 4 – World oil prices advanced Monday on fresh worries about Iran\’s disputed nuclear programme and a new storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, dealers said.

New York\’s main contract, light sweet crude for September delivery, added 52 cents to 125.62 dollars a barrel in electronic trading.

Brent North Sea crude for September delivery gained 50 cents to 124.68 dollars.

Crude futures had jumped higher on Friday on resurgent concerns about the Iranian nuclear energy row, as Israel\’s deputy Prime Minister, Shaul Mofaz, said Tehran was playing for time.

"It\’s Iran again… the Iranian issue remains fluid and it looks like more sanctions will be imposed by the world powers and they will likely raise tensions over Iran," said Victor Shum, a Singapore-based analyst at Purvin and Gertz.

Iran is the world\’s fourth-largest crude oil producer and traders fear supply disruptions from the Islamic republic if tensions between Tehran and the West heighten over its controversial nuclear programme.

Tensions over Iran\’s nuclear program helped push oil prices to record levels above 147 dollars per barrel last month.

Meanwhile, a new storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, where key US energy facilities are located, added to supply jitters, dealers said.

Tropical Storm Edouard is expected to be very near the southwestern coast of Louisiana and the upper Texas coast by late Tuesday.

"Some reports are saying much of the US offshore oil production facilities are in the likely path of the storm but it is a little too early to say what the direction of the storm is going to be," added Shum.

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