Oil cartel backs Iran in face of looming U.S. sanctions

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NSD Logo The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC today said, Iran remains a very important member of the oil cartel as Tehran braces for a new round of United States sanctions, partially targeting its crude exports. Russia, the world's largest oil producer, and other producers in OPEC have kept in place a supply agreement to maintain prices while at the same time providing enough oil to the market.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Monday that Washington would slap 10% tariffs on another $200 billion Chinese imports, except smart watches from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Fitbit and other consumer products including bicycle helmets and baby auto seats.

Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 dipped 16 cents, or 0.2 percent to $77.93 a barrel by 0035 GMT.

"The market's expectation of shortages has cooled after data from last week showed increases in supplies, while investors have lowered the outlook for oil demand", said Wang Xiao, head of crude research with Guotai Junan Futures.

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USA oil futures surged almost 2 percent on Wednesday as they were bolstered by a fifth weekly crude inventory drawdown and strong domestic gasoline demand amid ongoing global supply concerns over US sanctions on Iran that come into force in November.

Crude has mostly stayed below $70 a barrel since mid-July as a trade dispute between the US and China threaten global economic growth.

Meanwhile, an industry report Tuesday showed USA crude stockpiles increased 1.25 million barrels last week, defying expectations for a decline ahead of government data Wednesday.

The countries are the world's two largest economies.

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Reuters reported on September 5 that Saudi Arabia wants oil to stay between $70 and $80 a barrel to keep a balance between maximizing revenue and keeping a lid on prices until USA congressional elections.

Oil output from seven major US shale formations is expected to rise by 79,000 bpd to 7.6 million bpd in October, the US Energy Information Administration said on Monday.

Yesterday, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said all possible scenarios for oil output could be discussed at a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC states in Algeria this month.

The Chief of OPEC, Mohammad Barkindo said that Iran is a very important member of the oil exporting organisation, however, it has no choice but to continue working with all parties.

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Brent may fall more than $1 to $76.37 a barrel while WTI crude prices may revisit the September 14 low of $67.94, he wrote.

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