Many experts maintain that oil prices have overshot short-term equilibrium in the recent surge, but they also expect prices to continue rising in years to come.
"We're concerned about oil prices rising so rapidly in the near-term," Hussein Allidina, head of commodities research at Morgan Stanley tells Fortune magazine.
"But the bet in the long-term is one way, and that's just up."
Strong global demand, especially in emerging markets, will fuel the rise, experts say.
Already, China's crude oil consumption averaged 7.6 million barrels per day in April, the highest level on record, as the government built up its commodity inventories, Allidina says.
Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs predicted oil prices will rise to $85 a barrel by the end of 2009 and another $10 next year.
Deutsche Bank chief energy economist Adam Sieminski tells Fortune a jump could come even faster.
"If you get close to the balance (of supply and demand), prices can go haywire very quickly," he says.
"Something happens on the margin to put pressure on the market and instead of the price adjustment being gradual, it's a step change.”
“Last time gasoline had to go to $4 a gallon, and crude had to go to $150 a barrel to rebalance things. And that's how we could get there again," Sieminski says.
Others agree. Oil icon T. Boone Pickens predicted at a recent luncheon that oil prices could reach $200 in the next five years.
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