WTI Crude Oil Price Hits 60 bbl, Highest Since Mid

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We'll look at that more in Part 3 of this series.

Although U.S. shale drillers are now exhibiting restraint, speculation is rising that they will put more rigs into operation next year as oil strengthens: Gene McGillian, a market research manager at Tradition Energy, pointed out that "With that partially offsetting production cuts by OPEC and Russian Federation, the market will have to get confirmation that global inventories will keep coming down". But prices have rallied almost 50 percent since the middle of the year on robust demand and strong compliance with the production limits.

WTI rose 58 cents to $60.42 per barrel on Friday, its best closing price since June of 2015; Brent rose 76 cents to $66.92 per barrel. The session high of $67.29 was the highest since May 2015.

In the week ended December 29, 2017, United States crude oil inventories are expected to fall below 425 MMbbls (million barrels) for a further upside in oil prices.

"I see no impact on the production and export", one Iranian oil industry source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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

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Extreme cold weather across much of North America could also boost US crude prices by causing production problems in the oilfields.

Even without the unrest in Iran, which is a major oil exporter, market sentiment was bullish.

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.

Boosted by OPEC's latest deal and outages from the North Sea to Libya, prices have already surged above those levels in recent weeks.

"Independent E&P firms will be particularly attractive to larger independents and integrated oil companies", Moody's said in its 2018 credit trends report.

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