Updated from 1:35 p.m. EST
Crude oil erased an early decline Friday to close at a new record high.
The April futures contract gained 32 cents to close at $56.72 in regular Nymex trading. Yesterday, the benchmark U.S. crude traded as high as $57.60, before ending slightly below its previous record close of $56.46, which was set Wednesday.
The surprising 2005 rally appears back on track, with many traders still talking about a run to $60 a barrel.
Earlier this week, prices overtook their October 2004 record highs after the release of bullish inventory data, which made something of a mockery of OPEC's decision to raise production by 500,000 barrels a day, effective April 1.
The oil cartel also said it was prepared to raise output again if circumstances warranted it.
At this time last year, the benchmark U.S. crude was trading around $38 a barrel.