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Oil has held above $60 a barrel since late-December in NY, with United States crude stockpiles contracting and American oil drilling stalling out. Brent for March settlement climbed 75 cents to $68.53 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

"You're so long this market at this point, you could certainly get more interest at these levels", said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

The market has rallied in recent weeks as investors bet on an increasingly tighter market, aided by data showing declining USA stockpiles and threats to supply from major producers such as Iran and Venezuela.

Late Tuesday, trade group the American Petroleum Institute will release figures on domestic petroleum supplies, followed by Wednesday's EIA figures.

The oil minister of Iran, OPEC's third-largest producer, said on Tuesday that the organisation's members were not keen on increased prices as such gains would encourage more shale production.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, global petroleum and other liquid fuel inventories fell on average for the first year since 2013 last year.

"We expect oil demand growth to outpace non-OPEC supply growth in both 2018 and 2019", analysts stated.

"Production cuts and demand are continuing to rebalance the market".

USA oil and gas production will continue to increase in 2019 as well, to the chagrin of OPEC and Russia-major exporters looking to curb production and reduce competition from American shippers.

Despite this, USA production is expected soon to rise above 10 million barrels per day, largely thanks to soaring output from shale drillers.

Even so, US production is expected soon to rise above 10 million barrels per day, close to Saudi levels, due largely to soaring output from shale drillers, government data shows.

The report also noted that the North Sea Brent barrel stands at $64 per barrel, which is the highest it has been since November 2014, the start of the oil price crisis.

Oil prices firmed on Monday after a dip in the number of USA rigs drilling for new production, with crude holding just below the highs of almost three years reached last week. Only Russia and Saudi Arabia produce more.


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