The price of a barrel of oil surged more than a dollar today raising fears that forecourt prices will continue to rise to new record highs.

By early afternoon a barrel of benchmark Brent Crude was worth $121.67 up $1.10 or 0.9 per cent.

The latest rise came as a senior figure in the OPEC group of oil exporting countries warned prices are “nowhere near” their peak.

The United Arab Emirates’ Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei told a conference in Jordan that resurgiung demand in China following the relaxation of Covdi restrictions was bound to send demand higher.

He said: “With the pace of consumption we have, we are nowhere near the peak because China is not back yet, China will come with more consumption.”

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said there was little scope for ramping up production.

He told the Bloomberg news service at a conference hosted by RBC Capital Markets in New York: “With the exception of two to three members, all are maxed

out. The world needs to come to terms with this brutal fact.”

He was speaking as drivers in Britain suffered the biggest jump in prices in 17 years and were told to brace themselves for the £2 litre.

Petrol went up by 2p on average yesterday to 186.57p, equivalent to £99.40 to fill up a car with a typical 55 litre tank. Asda, usually one of ther cheapest fuel retailers, lifted its price by an “unheard of” 5p in a single day.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “These are unprecedented times in terms of the accelerating cost of forecourt fuel. Sadly, it seems we are still some way from the peak. While the average price of diesel is heading towards £2 a litre, the cost of wholesale petrol unexpectedly dropped around 5p a litre on Tuesday. If this price is maintained in the coming days it could stem the flow of daily record petrol prices.”

Extracted in full form: Oil prices surge higher as OPEC boss warns they are “nowhere near” the peak (