The price of oil has risen almost four dollars in early trading in New York, following a prediction by the head of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that oil prices could rise considerably this year.

OPEC President Chakib Khelil tells French television (France 24) the price of a barrel of oil could go as high as $150 to $170 a barrel in the next few months.

Khelil blames soaring oil prices on a weak dollar and instability in the Middle East, but says he doubts oil prices will hit $200 a barrel.

He also says OPEC is ready to meet additional demand for crude oil in the future.

The price of crude oil for August delivery rose almost $4 in New York Thursday, soaring to more than $138 a barrel.

Crude oil prices hit a record-high of nearly $140 a barrel last week, but dropped Wednesday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said U.S. oil inventories rose over the past week.

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