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Oil chief predicts $3 a litre petrol

ABC, AUSTRALIA - A senior Iranian oil executive has predicted the price of petrol in Australia will reach $3 a litre within three years as international oil prices hit new record highs.

Dr Ali Samsam Baktiari made the prediction while addressing a conference in Perth called "Oil - Living with Less".

Dr Baktiari is a chief adviser to the National Iranian Oil Company.

He says world production of oil will peak by 2007 at 82 million barrels a day.

"I don't think the world can pump much more than that, and any happening that will disrupt the slightest supply will send shock waves across the world and impact on the oil price," he said.

World oil prices have hit new all-time highs as Iraq's southern oil fields halted pumping to avoid a threatened attack by Shiite Muslim militia.

New York's light sweet crude for delivery in September surged $US1.02 to $US44.97 a barrel early afternoon, thundering past the previous record, set Friday, of $US44.77.

Brent North Sea crude oil for September delivery surged $US1.02 to an unprecedented $US41.65.

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