Oil prices eased on Tuesday after hitting mid-2015 highs in early trading, as major pipelines in Libya and the UK restarted and U.S production soared to the highest in more than four decades.
It was the first time since January 2014 that the two crude oil benchmarks opened the year above $60 per barrel, buoyed by large anti-government rallies in Iran and ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC and Russia.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 traded 20 cents lower at around $60.22 a barrel by 11:34 a.m. EST (1634 GMT). In early trading WTI hit $60.74, the highest since June 2015.
Brent crude futures LCOc1, the international benchmark, were down 53 cents, or 0.8 percent at $66.34 a barrel. The session high of $67.29 was the highest since May 2015.
The spread between U.S. crude and Brent WTCLc1-LCoc1 hit the narrowest in nearly two weeks.
The 450,000 barrel per day (bpd) capacity Forties pipeline system in the North Sea returned to full operations on Dec. 30 after an unplanned shutdown.
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