Iran oil minister: No change in production, export

Irving Hamilton
July 10, 2018

Donald Trump has insulted OPEC member states by ordering the organization to reduce prices, the Iranian oil minister stated, responding to the USA leader's recent criticism of OPEC for keeping oil prices artificially high. Venezuela's production has collapsed due to a lack of investment and Iranian exports have suffered due to U.S sanctions. OPEC, meanwhile, has little capacity to fill the gap as demand for oil quickens.

Brent crude had added 32 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $78.39 per barrel by around 0303 GMT, following a 1.2-percent climb on Monday. USA light crude futures were up 53 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $74.38.

Concerns that oil prices will be weighed down by a trade conflict between the United States and China have faded to some extent, analysts said.

Oil prices rose on Tuesday on escalating concerns over potential supply shortages, with Brent crude leading the way as hundreds of oil workers in Norway were set to strike later in the day. U.S. crude was down 30 cents at $73.50.

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Oil prices climbed toward a 3½-year high Tuesday, supported by supply issues across several major producing countries and continued uncertainty on the extent US sanctions on Iran will curb the Middle Eastern country's exports.

Iranian exports are expected to fall by 800,000 to 1 million barrels a day from their current level of 2.2 million barrels, said Dubai-based Ehsan Khoman, head of research for the Middle East and North Africa region at MUFG bank.

Opec members agreed with Russian Federation and other oil-producing allies last month to raise output, despite Iran storming out of negotiations, with Saudi Arabia pledging a "measurable" supply boost but giving no specific numbers.

"The bottom line becomes the available spare capacity within OPEC. and the markets have started to focus on that", said Victor Shum, vice-president for energy at IHS markets in Singapore.

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