Anti-government protests in Iran and ongoing production cuts led by OPEC and Russia have resulted in oil prices registering the strongest opening to a year since 2014.

Global crude prices have increased to mid-2015 highs.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 jumped 19 cents, or 0.3%, to trade at $60.61 a barrel, which represents the highest level since June 2015, according to Reuters.

Brent crude futures LCOc1, the international benchmark, rose 25 cents, or 0.4%, to trade at $67.12 a barrel.

The development marks the first time since January 2014 that the two crude oil benchmarks opened the year above $60 per barrel.

According to the news agency, US-based Schork Report, in a note to clients, stated: “Growing unrest in Iran set the table for a bullish start to 2018.”

“Growing unrest in Iran set the table for a bullish start to 2018.”

OANDA futures brokerage senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Falling inventories globally and strong economic growth offset the restart of the Forties pipeline and the resumption of production following a pipeline outage in Libya.”

Recently, Ineos has restarted full-scale operation of the 450,000bpd capacity Forties pipeline system in the North Sea following an unplanned shutdown, resulting from a crack in a section of the pipeline.

Oil markets have received ongoing support from OPEC and Russia in the form of supply cuts, extended until the end of this year.

Meanwhile, government data indicated a decline in the US commercial crude oil inventories by almost 20% to 431.9 million barrels.

However, increasing US crude production continues to be a concern for the OPEC.