Iran Minister Describes as Ruinous OPEC Agreement

Roman Schwartz
September 23, 2018

And just as inevitably, oil prices pulled back slightly as the brash billionaire tweeted his displeasure on Thursday: Brent settled down 78 cents at $78.70 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate settled down 32 cents at $70.80 per barrel - after rising almost 2 percent in the previous session. Given the Kingdom's preference for Brent prices above $80/barrel, OPEC may not increase supply unless prices remain elevated.

In the range-bound market, Trump's tweets may drive prices down slightly, said Tyche's Zahir, predicting that such tweets from the president would probably continue with the USA midterm elections fast approaching.

The rise in crude oil prices this quarter could contribute to increases in cash from operations and capital expenditures, said the EIA in its review, which included Big Oil, Rosneft, and Sinopec, and many smaller companies and USA companies focused on shale production.

The current price action confirms the notion that the crude oil market is "fragile" and highly sensitive to the upside on any news that even hints at lower supply.

Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at OANDA in Singapore, said Trump's remarks just days before the OPEC meeting put "a focus on the likely supply impacts of US -led Iran sanctions".

US sanctions on Iran's oil exports come into force on November 4 and many buyers have already scaled back Iranian purchases.

Crude inventories fell by 2.1 million barrels, compared with expectations for a decrease of 2.7 million barrels. Other than those two brief instances, it's been more than three and a half years since prices were that high. The United States relies on those tankers for its oil imports.

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A commission of the cartel hopes to impose another supply agreement, influenced by US president, Donald Trump.

While buyers have already reduced their purchases of Iranian oil due to the USA sanctions, it is not clear yet how other oil producing countries will be able to compensate for the loss of supply.

Iran, for example, has indicated it is happy with oil at $80 per barrel, so would presumably oppose a production increase. However, it said it expects US crude production to outpace that of Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia through next year. The price of oil is up 7 percent in the last month and almost 18 percent for 2018.

Rising U.S. gasoline prices could create a political headache for Trump before November congressional elections by offsetting Republican claims that his tax cuts and rollbacks of federal regulations have helped boost the U.S. economy. USA light crude was down 9 cents at $71.03 a barrel after rising almost 2 percent on Wednesday.

A new set of U.S. sanctions is due to hit the Islamic republic's oil industry on November 4.

Meanwhile, American Petroleum Institute data showed that crude stockpiles increased last week, while those in the storage hub at Cushing in Oklahoma fell. Saudi Arabia bolstered supplies again to 10.4 million a day, according to the report.

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