* US WTI crude jumps back above $60 per barrel
* US output falls to 9.754 million bpd
* Most analysts saw output reaching 10mn bpd by year-end
* Ongoing Opec/Russia production cuts support Brent
* Strong China demand further supports oil prices
US 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.
In international markets, Brent crude oil futures also rose, supported by ongoing supply cuts by top producers Opec and Russia as well as strong demand from China.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $60.21 a barrel at 0806 GMT, up 37 cents or 0.6 percent from their last close, after hitting a June 2015 high of $60.32 earlier in the day.
Brent crude futures - the international benchmark - were also up, rising 45 cents or 0.7 percent to $66.61 a barrel. Brent broke through $67 earlier this week for the first time since May 2015.
Since the start of the year, Brent and WTI have risen by 17 and 12 percent, respectively, although the price rises from mid-2017 are much stronger, at nearly 50 percent.
Friday's WTI price rises were driven by a surprise drop in US oil production <C-OUT-T-EIA>, which last week dipped to 9.754 million barrels per day (bpd), down from 9.789 million bpd the previous week, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released late on Thursday.
US output is still up by almost 16 percent since mid-2016, but most analysts had expected production to break through 10 million bpd by the end of this year - a level only surpassed by top exporter Saudi Arabia and top producer Russia.
WTI prices were further boosted by a fall in US commercial crude storage levels, which dropped by 4.6 million barrels in the week to Dec. 22 to 431.9 million barrels, according to the EIA.
Inventories are now down by almost 20 percent from their historic highs last March, and well below this time last year or in 2015.
A year of cutsIn international markets, China has issued crude oil import quotas totalling 121.32 million tonnes for 44 companies in its first batch of allowances for 2018.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
QSE edges lower on correction, but stays above 9,100
India pitches bigger oil resource pie in bid to lure investments
GKN rejects $10.2bn Melrose offer as ‘effectively unchanged’
Qatar Airways says offered 25% stake by US startup airline
Bitcoin jolted by regulation worries, falls 7pct on extended selloff
Qatar to play a role in production of Turkey’s first automobile
Incentives, facilities to encourage joint investments between Qatar and Turkey
Qatar-Turkey trade volume to increase in 2018, says Qatar Chamber chairman
QNB Group profit surges 6% to QR13.1bn in 2017