What Is OPEC? Trump Attacks Oil Price 'Monopoly'


Trump again accused the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries of driving fuel prices higher on Wednesday, and urged US allies such as Saudi Arabia to pump more if they wanted Washington to continue protecting them against their top foe Iran.

If the Saudis are indeed prepared to cave to Trump, it creates an existential threat to OPEC which may see Iran and other members quit immediately, if Riyadh has made a unilateral decision to pump more. His latest was a reminder that the United States defends many OPEC members for "very little" money. He added, "This must be a two way street".

The world's biggest crude exporter is preparing to ramp up oil production, possibly by as much as 2 million barrels a day, amid U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Trump took aim at OPEC for not doing enough to offset the supply disruptions and keep down the oil prices, which have risen to their highest mark in more than three years.

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Crude oil prices in recent days have hit their highest levels since late 2014.

Unable to bring in USA dollars and euros ahead of the new US sanctions that kick in in early November, Iran is open to accepting agricultural products and medical equipment in exchange for its crude oil, Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) quoted the spokesman of the Parliament's energy committee, Asadollah Gharekhani, as saying. That may reduce the pressure on Saudi Arabia to keep oil prices high, said John Kilduff, partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital LLC in NY. The worldwide community had expected sanctions waivers for some countries, a tactic used in the Obama era to avoid supply shocks.

He said Sunday that OPEC should put another 2 million barrels on the market to make up for the coming shortfall in Iranian crude sales due to sanctions.

Production at Syncrude Canada's 360,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil sands facility near Fort McMurray, Alberta, was hit by a power outage last month and is likely to remain offline through July, helping drain US inventories. Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, accused the United States and Saudi Arabia of trying to push up oil prices and said both countries are acting against the foundation of OPEC. "Please stop this method".

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Ardebili declared, "OPEC has not defined oil prices for the past 30 years".

"With those continued drawdowns at Cushing, we were approaching a situation where you could soon start to consider us nearing a shortage", Kilduff said. Analysts had expected a drawdown of 4.4 million barrels. The U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate was $73.22 a barrel, down 1.24 percent.

At 0715 GMT, August WTI crude oil futures are trading $74.00, down $0.33 or -0.46% and September Brent crude oil is at $77.80, down $0.43 or -0.55%.

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