Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Oil pares gains, market supported by Iran worries

Lindsey Cook | 02 May, 2018, 01:37

Meanwhile, Brent prices have gained almost 6 percent this month, buoyed by expectations the United States will renew sanctions against Iran.

The oil price rallied after Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, accused Iran of lying "big time" about a secretive nuclear weapons programme, ratcheting up tensions in a region that controls nearly half the world's oil.

At 0633 GMT, June WTI crude oil is trading $67.84, down $0.26 or -0.38% and June Brent crude oil is at $74.17, down $0.47 or -0.63%.

Crude has rallied this month amid heightened geopolitical tensions, and as investors await a decision on the Iran accord.

"But if the U.S.is not part of the deal, then there really is no deal", Yawger said.

Oil fell on Monday after a rising rig count in the United States suggested the shale boom is showing no signs of slowing, but prices remain near their highest in more than three years and are set for a second straight month of gains.

Netanyahu's disclosure of thousands of documents he said proved Iran definitively sought to assemble nuclear bombs comes as the US President, Donald Trump, considers whether to re-impose sanctions against Iran, the third biggest oil producer in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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Concerns that the US may reimpose sanctions on Iran helped underpin the markets this week as this represents a threat to supply.

Gasoline futures rose 0.1 percent to settle at $2.1292 a gallon on Monday, the highest since August. The global benchmark crude traded at a $6.43 premium to June WTI.

Prices will be pressured by rising US production as shale drillers try to take advantage of higher prices by ramping up activity. The more-active July contract closed rose 90 cents to close at $74.69.

But while US producers are accelerating shale drilling in areas in the United States, higher production has not necessarily translated into stronger refining results for some oil companies.

"There are worries that Iran's oil exports could fall by about 1 million barrels per day from current levels", said Tomomichi Akuta, senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting in Tokyo. Investors are assessing if surging USA production, which has topped 10 million barrels a day every week since early February, will undermine efforts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to balance the market via output cuts. USA crude stockpiles probably increased by 1.25 million barrels, according to the median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Elsewhere, U.S. crude production jumped 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) to a record high of 10.26 million bpd in February, the Energy Information Administration said on Monday.

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