Oil prices rose on Thursday, supported by supply cuts by major exporters as well as continuing concern about political developments in Saudi Arabia.
Brent crude oil was up 39 cents or 0.6 percent to $63.88 a barrel by 2:38 p.m., still close to Tuesday's intra-day high of $64.65, which was the highest since June 2015.
U.S. light crude finished 36 cents higher or 0.6 percent at $57.17, just shy of this week's more than two-year high of $57.69 a barrel.
"The move is driven by developments in Saudi Arabia in recent days and anticipation that the consolidation of power by King Salman and the Crown Price will continue," said Abhishek Kumar, Senior Energy Analyst at Interfax Energy's Global Gas Analytics in London, "Meanwhile, Saudi comments on Lebanon have also highlighted rising tensions between the kingdom and Iran."
Saudi Arabia plans to cut its crude exports by 120,000 barrels per day in December compared with November, slashing allocations to all regions, a spokesman for the energy ministry told Reuters on Thursday.
Several traders said prices got a boost from unconfirmed rumors that Saudi King Salman would relinquish the throne to his son Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Similar rumors hit the market in September and October but never materialized.
Prices got a boost earlier this week from a crackdown on corruption by the Saudi crown prince, who says he is determined to remodel his conservative country into a modern state no longer dependent on oil. Analysts said his arrival to the throne would add to tensions between Saudi Arabia and several countries including Iran, Lebanon and Yemen.