The price of Brent crude oil increased above $61 a barrel today due to supply outages in the North Sea.

Reuters reported that Brent crude futures increased $1.50 at $61.54 a barrel, and US crude was up $1.23 at $49.40 a barrel.

A drop in US rig counts and expectations for better demand have helped Brent prices increase by about 15% until now from January’s close of $52.99, heading for its biggest monthly gain since May 2009.

US crude is also on course for its first monthly increase in eight, but modestly at around 1.3%.

Norway-based Statoil has shut its Statfjord C platform in the North Sea following the cracks discovered in the platform’s flare tower.

The Statfjord field, which features two other platforms, produced about 81,000 barrels of oil equivalents in 2014.

Meanwhile, China National Petroleum said the country’s implied oil demand is set to increase by 3% in 2015, crossing the International Energy Agency’s forecast of 2.5%.

ABN Amro energy economist Hans van Cleef was quoted by Reuters as saying: "Brent is being helped by factors including positive euro zone and Chinese data, plus supply disruptions in Libya."