Crude oil prices hit fresh record highs above 78 dollars a barrel Friday as violence escalated in the Middle East.
The price of U.S. crude oil hit a record high of 78 dollars, 40 cents a barrel in Asian trading.
Energy analysts say prices are rising because of fears the growing conflict in the Middle East -- which supplies one-third of the world's crude oil -- might disrupt oil supplies.
The latest tensions come as demand for oil is so strong that oil producers have little unused production capacity to make up for disruptions.
The conflict involving Israel, Lebanon and Hezbollah has not directly affected the oil industry, but investors worry that tensions could spill into other nations.