Oil prices in the international markets rose on Monday, as US Drilling remained relatively subdued coupled with the fighting between Turkish forces and Kurdish fighters.
Brent crude futures were at $68.79 at 0053 GMT, up 18 cents, or 0.26 percent, from their last close. Brent on Jan. 15 hit its highest since December, 2014, at $70.37 a barrel.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $63.53 a barrel, up 16 cents, or 0.25 percent, from their last settlement. WTI marked a December-2014 peak of $64.89 a barrel on Jan. 16.
Traders pointed out the reduction in number of rigs in the US Shale Industry as one of the main helping the oil prices in the international markets. United Sates Driller cut more than five rigs during the week bringing the number of rigs down to 747. The United States could easily become the world’s number 1 oil supplier, as oil production reaches 9.75 million barrels per day third only to Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Middle East Conflict
The conflict in Middle East has also lent support to oil prices. In Syria, Turkish forces started their initiative against the ISIS targets and Kurds. The tensions have been on the rise between the Kurds and Turkish Armed Forces who vehemently opposed the Kurdish move for independence in the Iraqi region. The region is very strategic in the oil supply chain from Iraq. The prices are expected to remain on the higher side as fighting ensues between the rivals.
Despite conflict in the Middle East and ongoing attempts by a group of major oil producers around the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia to prop up prices by cutting production, analysts said oil markets had lost steam since the middle of January, when prices hit their highest levels since late 2014.