It was the first time since January 2014 that the two crude oil benchmarks opened the year above $60 USA per barrel. We'll look at that more in Part 3 of this series.
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.
Brent crude futures, the worldwide benchmark, were down 53 cents, or 0.8 per cent at $66.34 a barrel.
Crude Oil prices closed Y 2017 with strong gains on signs the global glut that has dogged the market since Y 2014 is shrinking.
It was the first time since January 2014 that the two crude oil benchmarks opened the year above $60 per barrel, buoyed by large anti-government rallies in Iran and ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC and Russian Federation.
Specifically, slightly more than half the survey's respondents expect the rig count to continue to climb six months from now, but almost all said oil above $60 will be needed for a substantial increase.
"Output is likely to hold around current levels following the recent decision by OPEC and non-OPEC producers to extend the cuts to the end of 2018", the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its December review.More news: OPD Doctors on 12-Hour Strike Against National Medical Commission Bill
Even without the unrest in Iran, which is a major oil exporter, market sentiment was bullish.
"I see no impact on the production and export", one Iranian oil industry source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"Independent E&P firms will be particularly attractive to larger independents and integrated oil companies", Moody's said in its 2018 credit trends report.
Oil markets have been supported by a year of production cuts and strong demand from China.
Russian Federation said it would cut its output by 300,000 bpd from the 30-year monthly high of 11.247 million bpd hit in October 2016 and achieved the targeted cut by the second quarter.
However, rising USA production, which is on the verge of breaking through 10 million bpd, has tempered the bullish outlook.