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08 January 2018, 03:34 | Austin Hogan
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Brent Crude has moved up to 68 as expected, but will now have to move up beyond 68 to mark fresh highs.
Oil prices retreated from their highest level in 2.5 years on Friday as surging US production appeared to offset supply fears stoked by anti-government rallies in Tehran.
However, cold weather across much of the country was expected to keep demand high, as heating oil prices were just off highs not seen since early 2015.
Oil hit its highest since May 2015 this week, supported by falling inventories, strong demand and high Opec compliance.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $61.40 a barrel by 1140 GMT.
WTI prices were further boosted by an EIA report of a 4.6 million barrel weekly drop in USA commercial crude storage levels.
Oil at highest since mid-2015 amid Iran tensions, tighter marketBrent crude futures LCOc1 were at $67.99 a barrel, 8 cents below their last settlement, but still not far off the $68.27-peak from the day before, also the highest since May 2015.
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"The protests don't put crude oil production at risk; from that perspective it is sort of a moot geopolitical factor", said Sarp Ozkan, analyst at Drillinginfo.com in Denver.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is reducing output by about 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) as part of a deal with Russian Federation and other non-Opec producers.
However, while media is portraying the survey as evidence that OPEC members are strongly committed to reducing its output, a good numerous declines can be attributed to unforeseen problems and not any willingness to abide by the cartel's rules, case in point: Libya, whose output in December slipped by 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) due to a pipeline outage.
OPEC's cuts are helping reduce global inventories, even as production continues to rise in the United States.
Taken in this context, it could be argued that OPEC in 2018 is in fact shaping up to have the same amount of cutback cheaters that impacted its efficacy in 2017 and caused it to extend its reduction deal through this year.
Lipow said he expected US crude prices to creep up to around $63 a barrel by the end of next year, while Brent would remain around $67 a barrel as USA oil exports rise to record levels.
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