World oil prices rose to new record highs in New York and London as conflict spread in the Middle East and tensions continued in Iran and Nigeria.

The price of oil for future delivery hit $76.40 a barrel in New York trading Thursday.

The price increases follow Israel's attacks inside Lebanon in a campaign against the Hezbollah militant group.  Dealers say the increases also are related to Iran's standoff with Western nations over its suspected nuclear weapons program and explosions that hit two oil pipelines in Nigeria's troubled Niger Delta region.

Strong demand for oil leaves little unused oil production capacity anywhere in the world.  The tight balance between supply and demand means any disruption in oil supplies could cause prices to soar.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.