updated 5/6/2008 10:08:51 AM ET 2008-05-06T14:08:51

A Goldman Sachs analyst on Tuesday predicted that oil prices could reach $150 to $200 a barrel over the next 6 months to two years, but said that how far prices could climb still “remains a major uncertainty.”

“We believe the current energy crisis may be coming to a head, as the lack of adequate supply growth is becoming apparent,” analyst Arjun N. Murti wrote in a client note.

Oil for June delivery hit a record $120.93 a barrel Tuesday in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

He forecasts that prices will still continue to gradually increase, but for a longer period that previously predicted.

He raised his 2008 prediction for benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil spot prices to $108 per barrel from $96, and his 2009 estimate to $110 from $105. He lifted his prediction for 2010 and 2011 to $120 from $110.

But he also said it was possible that oil could hit $125 this year and $200 in 2009 before coming down to $150 in 2010.

Murti said he remains bullish on most facets of the U.S. energy market, especially integrated oil companies, explorers and producers, and pipeline operators.

He lowered his view on oil refiners to “Neutral” from “Buy,” but said investors should still consider Valero Energy Corp. and Frontier Oil Corp. at their current values. He maintained a “Neutral” rating on oil drillers, but said investors should consider the stocks if they pull back.

He also named oil company ConocoPhillips, oilfield services provider Halliburton Co. and pipeline operator El Paso Corp. among his top picks.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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