Oil prices continued gains in 2018 after both the benchmarks gained more than 0.3 percent, amid the large anti-government rallies in Iran with the help from ongoing supply cuts from the OPEC and Russia.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $60.61 a barrel at 0423 GMT, up 19 cents, or 0.3 percent, after hitting $60.73 earlier in the day, their highest since June 2015.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark, were at $67.12 a barrel, up 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, after hitting a May 2015 high of $67.27 a barrel earlier in the day.
The Iranian unrest has sparked off new fears in the oil markets pushing up Crude to historic highs. It was the first time since Jan, 2014 that oil prices opened above $ 60 per barrel. Anti-government protesters demonstrated in Iran on Sunday in defiance of a warning by authorities of a crackdown, extending for a fourth day one of the most audacious challenges to the clerical leadership since pro-reform unrest in 2009.
The Iranian President, Rouhani, while addressing the parliament said that, Iran has time and again witnessed such protests. The times are trying at the moment, and the Iranian Government will do its best to allay any reservations of the masses.
The situation is being keenly observed in the West where US Senators, Politicians gave numerous statements condemning the Iranian Government of the economic woes faced by the local population in the country.
Furthermore, falling inventories globally and strong economic growth have offset the restart of the Forties pipeline and the resumption of production following a pipeline outage in Libya. The 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) capacity Forties pipeline system in the North Sea returned to full operations on Dec. 30 after an unplanned shutdown.