City oil analysts said a combination of tight supplies, strong demand from developing economies such as China and Brazil and tensions over Iran's nuclear programme will keep the market buoyant over the next 12 months.
Marco Dunand, the chief executive of Mercuria Energy Trading, a major oil trader, declared: "We see $100 as a floor for Brent going into next year unless Opec [Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] decides to change its policy and supply extra barrels to the market."
Mr Dunand added: "We anticipate a situation where the market will remain reasonably tight for a while."
He predicted that a major geo-political shock, such as a war between Iran and the United States and Britain or Israel, which could close the narrow Hormuz Strait in the Middle East Gulf, would push oil prices up sharply.
"With the situation in the Middle East, there are risks to the upside. The market has already started pricing in some sort of Iranian tension or conflict, but obviously the market would have a long way to go if there was a serious conflict."
"If there were to be a general conflict and the Strait of Hormuz were to be closed, not something we are expecting, it wouldn't be unrealistic to see the market go to $130 or $150 per barrel. But I see the chance of that being reasonably low."
Based in the Swiss city of Geneva, Mercuria is one of the top five energy traders with a turnover of about $75 billion, moving almost 120 million tonnes of oil, coal and gas a year.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs, the big Wall Street investment bank and major oil trader, predicted that Brent will hit $130 a barrel in 2013, saying that crude oil prices will continue to rise in order to slow demand growth, even in a relatively poor economic growth environment.
Goldman Sachs introduced a 2013 West Texas Intermediate (WTI) – a US benchmark – price forecast of $126 a barrel, saying the WTI to Brent oil price spread will likely compress further as the American Seaway pipeline, which runs from a major delivery point in Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf Coast, increases capacity to 400,000 barrels per day.
Goldman Sachs maintained its 2012 price forecast of $120 a barrel for Brent oil futures traded on the ICE market in London and $112.50 a barrel for WTI oil futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
"We continue to view the crude oil market as navigating between the currently tight physical oil markets and the threat that the European debt crisis could trigger a global economic recession in the near future, which would lead to a sharp drop in oil demand," Goldman Sachs analysts said in a research note.
Societe Generale, the French investment bank, recently increased its price forecasts for crude oil in 2012, citing a tight supply picture as the main driver for higher prices in the coming year.
"Crude stocks are currently much lower and much more bullish than we expected just three months ago," the Paris-based bank said in a note to investors. "The key conclusion is that the very tight physical markets make $110 Brent a fairly valued starting point for our oil price outlook."
The bank lifted its price forecast for European benchmark Brent by $10 to $110 a barrel and projected US crude would average $103 a barrel next year, up $23 from its previous predictions.
Other investment banks have also forecast that crude prices will stay above $100 during the coming year.
JP Morgan said black gold would jump to $120 a barrel before the end of 2012.
"Rising emerging market oil demand over the next 24 months will increase the demand for oil from Opec, boosting prices to $120 a barrel by the end of 2012, the bank's oil analysts said in a note.
JP Morgan's Wall Street rival, Morgan Stanley, also increased its oil forecast to $105 from $95 in 2012 due to tightening spare capacity.
"We believe that prices will need to move higher to ration demand as the world struggles to find enough supply," Morgan Stanley said, adding that the research was based on the bank's proprietary database of more than 460 fields expected to come online through 2015.
Citigroup is also bullish on crude prices, forecasting that Brent crude would trade in a range of $100 to $120 a barrel for the year, up from a previous prediction of $86 per barrel, citing supply disruptions, low inventories and political tensions.
Jeff Rubin, chief economist at Canada's CIBC World Markets, said oil production will barely grow during the next five years, edging up barely more than one million barrels a day over the next three years.
In a grim assessment of global energy needs, the International Energy Agency recently predicted that the era of cheap oil that fuelled Western economic development since the Second World War is over.
The Paris-based energy watchdog warned in its latest World Energy Outlook that substantial investment is needed in fossil fuel production to meet growing demand for petroleum products. The report's 650 doomed-laden pages will frighten even the cheeriest reader.
High oil prices contribute to inflation and make life difficult for central bankers who want to keep interest rates low. Bob Dudley, the chief executive of BP, said a few weeks ago that the price of crude is so high that it risks stunting global economic growth.