OPEC members not keen on Brent prices above $60

Oil prices up following crude inventories' fall

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures ended Friday's session down 57 cents, or almost 1%, at $61.44 a barrel, falling from the $62.21 high reached the previous day, and last seen in May 2015. March Brent rose 12 cents, or 0.2%, to $67.90 on ICE Futures Europe.

"You're so long this market at this point, you could certainly get more interest at these levels", said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

"Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are not keen on increased Brent crude prices above $60 a barrel because of shale oil", Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said in comments on the ministry's news agency Shana.

Oil prices closed at fresh three-year highs Tuesday, as geopolitical risk and confidence in global growth continued to buoy markets.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, global petroleum and other liquid fuel inventories fell on average for the first year since 2013 last year.

Traders said the gains were due to a slight decline in the number of U.S. rigs drilling for new production, which eased by five in the week to January 5, to 742, according to data from oil services firm Baker Hughes.

The surge comes as a welcome boost for the revenues of oil-producing nations, many still reeling from a price collapse that started in mid-2014 when crude began to fall steeply from above $100 per barrel due to oversupply.

Most recently, traders and oil market observers are waiting to see whether President Donald Trump on Wednesday extends US sanctions relief to Iran as part of the 2015 worldwide agreement to curb the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

Standard Chartered expects oil demand growth to outpace supply growth from non-OPEC countries in both 2018 and 2019, continuing to be the main supporter of prices, analysts wrote Tuesday.

Despite this, US production is expected soon to rise above 10 million barrels per day, largely thanks to soaring output from shale drillers.

"The U.S. oil price is now into a range that is anticipated to attract increased shale oil production", said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. Only top producers Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia produce more.

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