US Crude Oil Price Hits $60 a Barrel, Highest Since Mid

USA-SHALE  PERMIAN

One of the big questions in 2018 is how much shale oil will the U.S. produce

US crude futures dropped 14 cents to $59.50 as of 11:22 a.m. EST (1622 GMT), while Brent futures were off by 13 cents to $66.31 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude oil for February delivery ended up 1%, or 58 cents, at $60.42, representing its highest close and its first above the psychologically significant level of $60 sine around June of 2015, according to FactSet data.

U.S. oil prices hit their highest since mid-2015 on the final trading day of the year as an unexpected fall in American output and a fall in commercial crude inventories stoked buying. The price of the Brent oil rose by 0.71% to 66.63 United States dollars per barrel. WTI futures are now up 0.62% at $60.21 per barrel.

In the markets, the price of oil is supported by the decision of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to reduce production by the beginning of 2017, and this is expected to continue in 2018.

Since early 2017, the Brent and WTI crude have risen by 17% and 12% respectively, although growth has even reached 50% since the middle of the year.

Production edged lower in the most recent week, dropping to 9.75 million bpd, down from 9.79 million bpd a week earlier.

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Oil soared this week after media reports stated that Libya lost around 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) of supplies from a blast on a pipeline feeding Es Sider port on Tuesday.

WTI prices were further boosted by an EIA report of a 4.6 million barrel weekly drop in US commercial crude storage levels.

The price rose 58 cents to $60.42 a barrel in NY on Friday, propelled by Energy Department data showing US crude inventories fell 4.6 million barrels last week.

Inventories are now down by nearly 20 per cent from their historic highs last March, and well below this time a year ago or in 2015.

China's imports at around 8.5 million bpd, already the world's biggest, are expected to hit another record in 2018 as new refining capacity is brought online and Beijing allows more independent refiners to import crude.

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