Oil prices shot above $75 a barrel for the first time in almost two months Wednesday, as the market's renewed obsession with geopolitics emboldened the bulls.

August crude was recently rising $1.22 to $75.35 a barrel, pushed higher by North Korea's missile tests and the lingering tension in Iran. Gasoline futures surged 6 cents to $2.82 a gallon.

After a quiet overnight session, price found support after storied oil investor T. Boone Pickens told a television interviewer that crude futures could reach $80 a barrel by the end of the year.

Traders were also on edge after the North Korea missile test, in which the communist state fired seven unarmed weapons into the sky over the Sea of Japan. The gesture was met with consternation in diplomatic circles, with the U.S. calling it an act of provocation and Japan warning of stricter economic sanctions.

Iran, meanwhile, postponed nuclear negotiations that had been scheduled to begin Wednesday in Brussels. The talks, at which Iran and a U.N. representative planned to discuss incentives aimed at convincing Iran to drop its uranium-enrichment activities, will occur on Thursday, officials said.

Despite oil's rise, energy-related shares were mixed. Recently, the Amex Oil Index was up 0.1%, while Exxon Mobil ( XOM) gained 0.9%. Valero ( VLO) was little changed at $66.88, while Halliburton ( HAL) lost 0.1% to $74.96 and Transocean ( RIG) lost 0.4% to $80.85.