U.S. crude, whose market price Friday exceeded its international counterpart for the first time since 2010, is expected to continue its relentless advance if the United States keeps outperforming other major economies.
Economic problems have waylaid both China and Europe—two of the world's most voracious crude consumers—and darkened the outlook for global demand.
But that has done little to impede the rally in West Texas Intermediate, which over the past year has surged by more than 18 percent as U.S. demand outpaces that of other countries. Simultaneously, global benchmark Brent has slumped by 5 percent.
"We have seen a considerable amount of WTI outperformance relative to Brent recently as the U.S. economy outperforms other global economies such as the euro zone, U.K. and certain parts of Asia," said George Davis, chief technical analyst at RBC Capital Markets in Toronto.
"With new and reversed pipelines now in place and an improved rail infrastructure providing the increased capacity to move crude, the glut that has been weighing on WTI relative to Brent has largely been removed," he added.
On Friday, both contracts traded above $109, with WTI hitting its highest level in a year and trading at a premium to Brent for the first time in nearly three years. Analysts were surprised more by the pace than the direction of the move.