Oil prices shoot above $63 per barrel

| 8/8/2005

Market analysts are blaming fears of potential terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia for Monday’s spike in oil prices.

U.S. light, sweet crude jumped more than a dollar to $63.40 per barrel after the United States shut down its Embassy and other diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia in response to threats.

Reuters news service reported that the market was also jittery over news that Iran had resumed work on its nuclear program, in spite of the threat of possible United Nations sanctions.

There are also concerns over supplies in the U.S., as several outages have hit refineries during the past few weeks. Making matters worse, both ConcoPhillips and Valero Energy closed some of their refineries last week.

According to ProMiles, the national average cost for diesel on Aug. 8 was about $2.42 per gallon. California had the highest prices, posting an average of $2.94 per gallon.

And it seems that some people are trying to cash in on the ever-increasing price of fuel.

An offshore Internet gambling site is now taking bets on how high the price of gas will go. The Houston Chronicle reports that PinnacleSports.com is seeking wagers on whether the price per gallon will hit $3 by New Year’s Day in New York City or Los Angeles.

Bloomberg reported it’s not clear whether Internet betting is legal.