Possibility of Iran Spring pushes oil prices northwards

WTI prices were supported by data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration late on Thursday showing domestic oil production C-OUT-T-EIA declined last week to 9.75 million barrels per day (bpd) from 9.79 million bpd the previous week.

Higher US crude oil exports could negatively impact oil prices globally. The spread between the benchmarks widened throughout the year, as Brent responded to the drawdown in supply from major world producers while US output continued to grow.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures traded down slightly at around $60.32 United States a barrel at 10:26 a.m. ET after hitting $60.74 USA earlier in the day, their highest since June 2015.

Iran's crude oil production and exports have not been impacted by the unrest spreading across the country, Iranian oil and shipping sources said on Tuesday, as a crackdown intensified against anti-government demonstrations that began last week.

Brent Crude futures rose 41c to 66.57 bbl. Inventories are down by nearly 20 percent from historic highs last March, and well below this time previous year or in 2015.


Iran is OPEC's third largest crude producer.

The fall in United States crude oil inventories and U.S. crude oil production could be behind oil's gain.

Oil markets have been supported by a year of production cuts and strong demand from China.

Some analysts think Friday's crude gains will evaporate sooner than later: "The current highs are unsustainable in the short-to-medium term, with prices likely to head back below $60 once we get past January", stated JBC Energy GmbH.

Russia's oil production in December 2017 was 10.95 million bpd, up from 10.94 million bpd in November, driven by 0.2-percent growth in production at the biggest oil firm, Rosneft.

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