Light sweet crude for April delivery closed at an all-time high of $110.33 per barrel Thursday
in New York, up 41 cents from Wednesday's closing level, after hitting a record intraday trading price of $111 in what AFP called "frenzied trading."
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal was quoted by AFP as saying speculators were largely responsible for the price peaks, and some analysts cautioned that the market could be in a price bubble.
U.S. Senators from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski and Ted Stevens, introduced legislation Thursday to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge if oil prices reach $125 for five days. ANWR has long been protected form efforts to open the area east of Prudhoe Bay oil field to energy companies because of concerns for the area's wildlife and the environment.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency will hold a closed-door meeting Monday, March 17, to discuss oil prices, reports Reuters.
The meeting is part of "ongoing work at the IEA to understand the complex process of price formation." The agency, which advises nations on energy, said experts at the meeting will represent a broad spectrum of the industry, including financial, trading, producing, refining and economic institutions.