Published: Mon, August 06, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

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.

Key OPEC oil producers seem to be finding it harder than expected to sell their output overseas with resulting build-up in their stockpiles potentially helping them offset the drop in Iranian supplies, as USA sanctions start to bite deeper, Bloomberg reported.

In June, the U.S. state department said that countries buying oil from Iran should bring down to zero their Iranian crude imports by the time Washington re-imposes sanctions on November 4.

Russian Federation and OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have increased production to help to compensate for an anticipated shortfall in Iranian crude supplies once planned US sanctions take effect in November.

Brent crude futures were at $73.40 per barrel, down 5 cents from their last close. Iran has said it will not accept any attempts to halt the country's oil exports.

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China - the world's top crude buyer and Iran's No. 1 customer - has said previously that it opposed unilateral sanctions and lifted monthly oil imports from the country by 26 percent in July.

"Crude oil exports from the five Persian Gulf Arab members of OPEC fell by about 1.1 million barrels a day last month, after surging in June", according to Bloomberg tanker tracking.

When pressed by CNBC to answer the questions she was raising, Croft replied, "I think this market will tighten at the end of this year", and added that Venezuelan production continues to fall and will be a contributing factor. Inventories rose for the first time in seven months in May.

"The return of USA sanctions on Iran has already hit the country's oil exports".

Saudi said on Saturday it would resume all oil shipments through the strategic Red Sea shipping lane of Bab al-Mandeb, the state news agency SPA reported, as per CNBC news.

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Sinopec's trading unit, Unipec, has not booked new purchases of US crude oil at least until October, one of Reuters' sources said.

The strain between China and the USA derive from a similar attack by Trump, who levied a global tariff on steel and aluminum imports in March.

"Chinese demand from the independent refiners is also lower while the escalating trade war also doesn't help sentiment", said Warren Patterson, commodities strategist at ING. United States crude ended the week down 0.4 per cent, while Brent has fallen 1.5 per cent in the week so far.

The official confirmed that during July delegations would be dispatched to Beijing and Delhi to press home the case, having already visited the capitals of other major Iranian oil importers.

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