ibusinesslines.com December 14, 2018

Oil firm as Saudi output dips, Iran sanctions loom

06 August 2018, 10:51 | Kelvin Horton

Oil firm as Saudi output dips, Iran sanctions loom

Oil firm as Saudi output dips, Iran sanctions loom

Saudi Arabia, which recently pledged oil-supply increases to tame rallying crude prices, cut production last month, according to OPEC delegates familiar with the matter.

Teams of US officials have been visiting capitals around the world to try to choke off sales of Iranian oil by early November, when USA sanctions are due to snap back into effect.

WTI settled down 47 cents to $68.49 per barrel, and Brent fell 24 cents to $73.21 per barrel, causing Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch & Associates, to remark, "It's a jittery feel here, as long as we have Iranian sanctions uncertainty and tariff uncertainty, and it doesn't take much to spark a significant swing one way or the other".

Since President Donald Trump announced in May that the USA would be withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and restoring sanctions on the country, Washington officials have attempted to convince foreign governments to stop importing Iranian oil.

Still, with Russian Federation, the United States and Saudi Arabia now all producing 10 million to 11 million bpd of crude, just three countries now meet around a third of global oil demand. The United States crude classification closes the trading week with a 0.4 percent drop as the Brent drops 1.5 percent over the week.

What's next for Iran oil?

Saudi Arabia pumped around 10.29 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in July, two OPEC sources said on Friday, down about 200,000 bpd from a month earlier.

Other oil producing countries, led by Saudi Arabia, have vowed to increase production to cover the loss of Iranian oil.

"Yet this depletion may be coming to an end. There's clearly room for them to keep rising and good reason too", said Bloomberg.

The oil market has been speculating about how much of Iran's exports could be eroded by the USA sanctions, with analysts from BMI Research to Mizuho Securities predicting that China might boost its imports of cheap supplies from the state and offset cuts by other nations. "Bloomberg tanker tracking in July shows the country's crude and condensate exports have already fallen by about 430,000 barrels a day, or 15%, from their April peak".

Fears that Chinese demand could taper fuelled the pullback on Friday after state oil major Sinopec cut its purchases of U.S. crude. USA crude ended the week down 0.4 per cent, while Brent has fallen 1.5 per cent in the week so far.

"Demands from China to independent refineries are also lower, while the rising trade war does not help with any positive sentiments", said Warren Patterson, commodity analyst from ING.

Past year the United States exported just 7.7mt of crude oil to China, which accounted for just 1.8% of China's total crude oil imports of 420mt.

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