Oil prices have spiked and seem to be reaching US$52,as temperatures dip in the northern hemisphere. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, stood at US$51.39 a barrel. In London, the price of Brent North Sea crude oil for delivery in April stood close to the US$ 50 mark at US$49.44 a barrel. API estimated that oil stocks had spiked by 3.41 million barrels to 294.76 million barrels. Despite the rise in crude stocks, oil prices remained high, buoyed by a cold snap and snow across the northeast United States and in parts of Europe.
In a TV interview, Saudi Arabia's influential oil minister Ali al-Nuaimi is said to acknowledged that the price of a barrel of oil on the world market is likely to remain between US$40 and 50 this year.
In Europe, passengers and commuters have found themselves stuck in Britain, France and Germany and parts of Italy and Spain, the result of a continental cold snap set to continue into next week.