Goldman Sachs yesterday predicted oil prices could reach $85-$95 (£55-£61) a barrel this year, driven by accelerating economic growth.
This is an increase of nearly $15 on prices seen in October last year.
Goldman analysts say the extra demand will draw excess capacity stored by Opec back into the market. It also speculated refining margins will remain tight owing to increased capacity in Asian oil markets.
An analyst for the bank said: “We continue to expect that as the near-term fundamentals of the oil market continue to improve, strengthening timespreads will lift West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices into this $85-$95 per barrel range.
“Further, we expect that simple refining margins relative to WTI prices will come under pressure as Opec spare capacity enters the market in the second half of 2010 as the resulting downward pressure on heavy crudes should allow complex refiners to increase production at the expense of simple light crude refiners.”
The news follows positive year-on-year growth in US industrial production and Japan’s economy growing 4.6 per cent.