Oil prices are nearing record highs, one day after Iran disrupted the international community with an announcement that it has enriched uranium for nuclear fuel.
The price of crude hovered around $69 per barrel Wednesday. Analysts warned that an interruption in the supply of oil from Iran could drive prices up further.
Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency says it expects an increase in demand for oil in the coming months, as Americans enter the summer travel season and China's economy continues to expand.
And a report on U.S. gasoline stockpiles due out Wednesday is expected to say that U.S. supplies are shrinking. That could further drive up the cost of oil, even to an all-time high of $70 per barrel.
Oil prices reached record highs last year after a brutal hurricane season forced the temporary shutdown of some U.S. oil refineries. The industry has further been squeezed by violence in Nigeria, where locals have clashed with international companies over oil revenues.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.