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Does oil hit record heights in 2011?

As oil prices inch closer to $100 a barrel, consumers are once again focusing on prices at the pump, wondering when they’ll see a slowdown. Not anytime soon, says one top market watcher.

John Stephenson, Vice President and portfolio manager at First Asset Investment Management, says 2011 could be the year oil prices reach record highs.

“We’re likely to see three-figure oil prices for sure through most of 2011 and certainly onwards,” Stephenson told BNN. He predicts crude will likely hit $125 a barrel, with a possilbe spike to a record-breaking $150 “within the year.”

Stephenson says the reason for the quick rise in oil prices is a deadly combination of increased demand from regions in the developing world where oil is subsidized, coupled with the reality that new sources of oil are coming from increasingly distant and hard-to-reach deposits.

However, industry veterans don’t see natural gas rising in tandem with crude oil. Mark Lackey, investment strategist at Pope & Company, says the price for natural gas will remain in its lowly state even as oil continues its upward rush.

“I’m not that positive on natural gas in the short run.,” he told BNN.

But Lackey cautions natural gas prices could rally beyond 2011 if the supply glut that many analysts are predicting fails to materialize. CTV Two CTV News CTV News Channel BNN - Business News Network CP24