World oil prices will rise sharply in the second half of 2007 unless OPEC increases production, the International Energy Agency warned yesterday. Some analysts are predicting crude could top $80 a barrel later this year.

In a report, the IEA raised its forecast for crude demand this year by some 200,000 barrels a day, and lowered its expectation of non-OPEC supplies by 100,000. Officials from OPEC have so far resisted frequent calls from the IEA – which represents 26 industrialized consuming countries – to open the taps to reduce pressure on prices.

“We would very much hope that OPEC production is at its seasonal low at the moment,” David Fyfe, analyst at the IEA said. “We definitely do need more crude oil.”

How about a little renewable energy instead?