Oil prices briefly climbed to record territory above $58 a barrel Monday, as concerns about growing demand and potential supply disruptions once again overshadowed improving crude inventories.
‘‘I’ve been doing this for 22 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,’’ said oil analyst Ken Miller at Purvin & Gertz in Houston. ‘‘I view this as a very unstable situation.’’
Late in the day traders took profits and considered a possible production increase by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, sending light, sweet crude for May delivery down 26 cents to $57.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Prices had climbed as high as $58.28, topping the previous intraday record of $57.70 a barrel reached Friday, when futures settled at a record $57.27.
In London, Brent crude futures fell 28 cents to $56.23 a barrel on the International Petroleum Exchange.
With oil prices up nearly $15 a barrel since the year began, U.S. motorists are spending an average of $2.22 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline and analysts believe pump prices could rise further as the summer driving season approaches.