Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Oil prices fall amid surprise growth in U.S. crude stocks

Iran OPEC chief: 'Saudi and Russia are taking oil market hostage' Russia says Iran sanctions 'unproductive'
| 22 September, 2018, 14:24

Earlier this month, Saudi shipments into the USA reached a four-week average of 1 million barrels a day for the first time since late 2017, according to government data.

An adviser to Iran's oil minister said on Tuesday that expected US sanctions on Iran's energy sector could not reduce the country's oil sale to zero because of high demand levels in the market, state TV reported.

OPEC and non-OPEC producers Russian Federation started withholding oil supplies in 2017 to end a global glut and prop up prices.

Oil eased on Wednesday, but held near its highest level this year, as concerns that producers may fail to cover a supply shortfall once USA sanctions on Iran come into force outweighed an increase in United States inventories. “But U.S. pressure will come into play and it's more likely that OPEC producers and allies will decide on a production boost later this week.”.

U.S. crude stocks increased by 1.2 million barrels according to the American Petroleum Institute (API), sharply reversing the market forecast of -2.7 million barrels, raising prospects for a widening premium in the Brent versus WTI with crude runs worsening in Europe and Asia. Prices on Tuesday advanced 98 cents to $79.03. The global benchmark crude traded at a $9.44 premium to WTI for the same month.


Traders work in the crude oil and natural gas options pit on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract climbed 94 cents to $69.85 on Tuesday.

The warning came from the group's top official as looming unilateral US sanctions on oil sales by Iran, OPEC's third-biggest supplier, are scheduled to take effect on November 4.

USA sanctions affecting Iran's oil exports come into force on November 4 and many buyers have already scaled back Iranian purchases. Oil exports from the Persian Gulf nation have plunged about 35 percent since April, the month before Trump exited from the diplomatic deal with Tehran and announced new oil sanctions.

Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major exporting countries are scheduled to meet Sunday in Algiers to review the oil market.

Prices pared gains in post-settlement trade after data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed US crude inventories rose by 1.2 million barrels in the week to September 14 to 397.1 million, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 2.7 million barrels. Gasoline stocks fell 1.7 million barrels versus forecasts for a 100,000-barrel drop.

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