Oil prices off 2015 highs, but market remains tight

Oil hits 2½-year high

Libya has lost around 90,000 barrel per day of crude oil from a blast on a pipeline feeding Es Sider port, a Libyan oil source said, adding that NOC was still assessing the damage.

WTI broke through $60 a barrel for the first time since June 2015 in the previous session.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $59.73 a barrel at 4.21am GMT, down 24c from their last settlement.

The impending restart of Forties, a key North Sea pipeline, limited the extent of the rally.

Trading activity was thin because of the Christmas holiday in many countries. According to exchange data, just 50,000 contracts of front-month Brent crude futures changed hands on Tuesday, well below the typical daily average of more than 250,000 contracts.

The plan, devised to get Saudi Arabia out of the budget deficit that the 2014 crisis plunged it into, envisages an increase of oil sales revenues to US$214 billion (801.4 billion riyals) in 2023, from US$117.32 billion (440 billion riyal) in 2017, provided crude oil rises to US$75 a barrel. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, plus Russian Federation and other non-members, have been withholding output since January 1 to get rid of a glut. OPEC agreed in November to extend those cuts until the end of 2018. Global oil inventories have decreased to an acceptable level, he added.

Suns beat Grizzlies on Tyson Chandler's game-winning alley oop
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Police remove memorial erected by white nationalist group in Minnesota
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Broncos plan to start Paxton Lynch in final game of season
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There's been a glut of oil in recent years, forcing the Saudi-led OPEC cartel to cut production to lower supply.

While the OPEC action has lent support to prices all year, the unplanned shutdown of the Forties pipeline on December 11 pushed Brent to its mid-2015 high.

With the war against OPEC halted and shale production re-energized, the U.S.is poised for record oil output in 2018.

Still, rising production in the United States is offsetting some of the OPEC-led cuts.

USA crude oil inventories were likely down for a sixth straight week, while gasoline stockpiles saw a probable build last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.

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