Oil approaches 2015 highs On fewer US rigs OPEC

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London (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Monday, coming close to three-year highs on a slight decline in the number of U.S. rigs drilling for new production and sustained OPEC output cuts.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 had risen to $61.67 a barrel by 1422 GMT, 23 cents above their last settlement. WTI last week reached $62.21, the highest since May 2015.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $67.78 a barrel, 16 cents above their last close. Brent hit $68.27 last week, the highest since May 2015.

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

chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney Ric Spooner  said “The U.S. oil price is now into a range that is anticipated to attract increased shale oil production,”

“Traders may decide that discretion is the better part of valor while markets wait on evidence of what happens to the rig count and production levels over the next couple of months.”

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