Brent crude hits $70 for first time since 2014

Opec-led production cuts have begun to have an impact

US crude oil prices closed Wednesday at their highest levels in over three years.

West Texas Intermediate for February delivery advanced 23 cents to settle at $63.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest level since December 2014.

Oil had its best start to a year in five years as Opec and its allies continue supply cuts to drain a global glut.

Brent crude doubled in the past one year and touched Dollars 70 a barrel mark Thursday, the highest since December 2014.

The RAC's current two-week forecast for pump prices shows a fairly static picture but it warns this could fast change if the oil price remains above $70.

They add that "with supplies already so tight, any unexpected disruption could cause prices to surge".

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However, U.S. production dropped sharply, though those figures are not considered as reliable as monthly data, which is released with a lag.

According to online source Finanz, the USA crude oil inventories shrank over the past week, which pushed oil prices higher. It's interesting to note that Brent oil has reached this level for the first time since 2014.

In the 2010s, shale oil production went into full swing, limiting OPEC's pricing power.

Due to the market optimism largely led by the ongoing production cuts from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries as well as other participating non-member countries to cut as much as 1.8 million barrels per day as a part of their efforts in boosting and pushing oil prices higher as well as preventing a global oversupply.

World oil prices rise on Wednesday morning after the publication of the data of the American Petroleum Institute (API) on the reserves of "black gold" in the USA, gaining a foothold on the record levels achieved the day before.

Adding to bullish sentiment on Thursday, market intelligence firm Genscape estimated a draw of more than 3.5 million barrels at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for USA crude futures for the week ended Tuesday, according to traders who saw the data.

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And in addition, oil-burning power plants in New England which rarely get used all year have been running hard, contributing one-third to ISO New England's power generation fuel mix at times.

By 1415 BST, the oil price was still rising.

Data from RAC Fuel Watch shows that the cost of a barrel was last over $70 on 3 December 2014 when a price of $70.22 was recorded.

This week, the API is reporting another build in gasoline inventories of 4.338 million barrels for the week ending January 5.

Amid the general bull-run, which has pushed up crude prices by more than 13 per cent since early December, there are indicators of an overheated market.

USA crude output averaged a record-high 9.789 million b/d the week ending December 15, according to EIA estimates.

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