The West Texas Intermediate for February delivery increased 0.58 US dollar to settle at 60.42 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for February delivery ticked up 0.15 dollar to close at 66.87 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
US crude oil closed above $60/bbl for the first time in two-and-a-half years, settling up 1% at $60.42 as a combination of supply disruptions this week and evidence of reduced crude inventories has helped push prices higher headed into 2018. Brent crude futures rose 41 cents to $66.57 a barrel. At 1641 GMT, they were up 32 cents at $60.16 a barrel.
This week, WTI broke above $60 a barrel for the first time since June 2015, while Brent breached $67 for the first time since May 2015.
US oil production C-OUT-T-EIA, which has risen more than 16 percent since mid-2016, is expected to surpass 10 million bpd next year, some analysts said. Prices have rallied almost 50 percent since the middle of the year on robust demand and strong compliance with the production limits.
Oil prices, which hit 2-1/2 year highs this week, have rallied by more than 30 percent since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producers agreed to limit production from January 2017.
"That trend is likely to continue into 2018 and worldwide oil inventories will continue their decline", said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.
Net U.S. crude imports rose last week by 807,000 barrels per day. Inventories are down by nearly 20 percent from historic highs last March, and well below this time previous year or in 2015. Based on total expected quotas, China imports about 8.5 million barrels per day, being already the largest in the world and is expected to reach a new record in 2018. However, the markets also focused on the fact that a gradual return of the 450,000 bpd capacity Forties pipeline system in the North Sea could ease the tightness in global oil markets.