Investors rushed to buy oil futures contracts as far forward as December 2016, pushing their prices as high as $139.50 a barrel, up more than $9.50 on the day. The spot price hit a record $129.60 a barrel.
Veteran traders said they had never seen such a jump and said investors were increasingly betting that oil production would soon peak because of geopolitical and geological constraints.
Blame that icon of the '80s, T. Boone Pickens:
That trend was exacerbated by T. Boone Pickens, the influential investor who believes world oil production is about to peak as aging fields run dry. He warned that oil prices would hit $150 a barrel by the end of the year.
"Eighty-five million barrels of oil a day is all the world can produce, and the demand is 87m," Mr Pickens told CNBC. "It's just that simple."