Brent crude oil hits $71 a barrel for the first time since 2014

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Brent crude oil prices were last at $71 a barrel in 2014 (Source: Getty)

The price of Brent crude oil broke the $71 per barrel level today for the first time since 2014 after US crude inventories fell for the 10th week in a row and the US dollar weakened.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, was trading up 0.47 per cent at $70.86 a barrel at the time of writing after hitting $71.05 earlier today.

The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, rose as high as $66.35 a barrel after breaking the $65 a barrel mark yesterday afternoon for the first time in three years.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) yesterday said US inventories had fallen to 411.6m barrels, the lowest since February 2015. Despite falling less than analysts had expected, oil prices were buoyed by the news.

Mike van Dulken and Henry Croft, analysts at Accendo Markets, said: "Crude oil benchmarks have traded fresh three-year highs overnight as a bullish US EIA inventories drawdown adds further fuel to bullish Opec production cut speculation."

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) is leading an agreement among members and non-members including Russia to cut oil supply by about 1.8m barrels per day until the end of 2018.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia, the cartel's de facto leader, said "cooperation" between Opec and its partners will continue beyond 2018.

Good news for drivers

Despite the rise in oil futures, a combination of the strengthening pound and lower wholesale prices spelled good news for motorists.

Simon Williams at the RAC said petrol prices could even go down by 1p if a dip in the wholesale oil price was passed on to consumers.

Read more: US oil price pops to $65 for the first time since 2014

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