Oil trades near strongest levels since mid-2015 on Iranian unrest

In early trading WTI hit $60.74, the highest since June 2015.

Although U.S. shale drillers are now exhibiting restraint, speculation is rising that they will put more rigs into operation next year as oil strengthens: Gene McGillian, a market research manager at Tradition Energy, pointed out that "With that partially offsetting production cuts by OPEC and Russian Federation, the market will have to get confirmation that global inventories will keep coming down".

Global benchmark Brent crude futures ended the year with a 17 percent rise, supported by ongoing supply cuts by top producers OPEC and Russian Federation as well as strong demand from China. Brent broke through $67 this week for the first time since May 2015.

Boosted by OPEC's latest deal and outages from the North Sea to Libya, prices have already surged above those levels in recent weeks.

The brightest full moon of the year is tonight
A rare "Wolf Moon" last night ushered in the New Year as it lit up the skies above Britain and is set to reach its peak tonight. In addition, the so-called "full supermoon" appeared 30 percent brighter than an average full moon, according to NASA .

The Russia-led non-OPEC producers and OPEC agreed at the end of November to extend their production cut pact to the end of 2018, in their efforts to continue drawing down the global oil overhang. Iranian oil industry and shipping sources said protests have had no impact on oil production or exports so far. The cuts started in January 2017 and are scheduled to cover all of 2018.

Oil markets have been supported by a year of production cuts and strong demand from China.

The Middle East-dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other leading oil producers agreed to cut their combined oil production by nearly 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from the start of 2017 to prop up prices.

Russia's oil production in December 2017 was 10.95 million bpd, up from 10.94 million bpd in November, driven by 0.2-percent growth in production at the biggest oil firm, Rosneft. If the figure is not revised next month, it would be the highest monthly level since May 1971.

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