Oil pushes past $80 as Iran fears mount

AN aerial view of Chabahar Port in Iran being built by India. The US has refused to allow any country specific exemptions to the sanctions on Iran complicating Indian plans for the port.—File

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 93 cents to $70.18 a barrel, a one-week high.

Brent rose above $80 per barrel during the previous session for the first time since May, spurred by expectations that USA sanctions against Iran's oil exports, which will start in November, will tighten global markets.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday that Russia and a group of producers around the Middle East which dominate the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries may sign a new long-term cooperation deal at the beginning of December, the TASS news agency reported.

Washington has told its allies to reduce imports of Iranian oil and several Asian buyers, including South Korea, Japan and India appear to be falling in line.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, in its monthly oil market report for September released on Wednesday, said crude oil production from Nigeria rose to 1.71 million barrels per day in August from 1.53 million bpd the previous month.

"The fact that much higher supply is already needed from the likes of Saudi Arabia - and the low levels of spare capacity remaining - leave the global system highly vulnerable to any further significant outage", he said.

"The situation in Venezuela could deteriorate even faster, strife could return to Libya and the 53 days to November 4 will reveal more decisions taken by countries and companies with respect to Iranian oil purchases", the IEA said, referring to the day US sanctions on Iran take effect.

A group of OPEC and non-OPEC producers have been voluntarily withholding supplies since January 2017 to tighten markets, but with crude prices up by more than 40 percent since then and markets significantly tighter, there has been pressure on producers to raise output.

Stare Down from Space into the Churning Maw of Hurricane Florence
That will be in addition to a storm surge that could reach nine feet. "This storm will bring destruction to North Carolina ", Gov. Amparo did not specify how many modular units were on hand to respond to Hurricane Florence , but said it was "more than 2,000".

"The last couple of weeks have seen the expected squeeze on Iranian crude flows taking shape, with overall outflows down markedly".

Russian energy minister Alexander Novak on Wednesday warned of the impact of USA sanctions against Iran.

"This is a huge uncertainty on the market - how countries, which buy nearly 2 million barrels per day of Iranian oil, will act". Perry will meet with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Thursday in Moscow.

The IEA said tightening supply was putting increasing pressure on prices.

"Crude oil production in OPEC rose month-on-month by 278,000 barrels a day in August, to 32.57 million bpd in August", the oil cartel said.

"Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest producer, saw its output rise modestly to 10.40 million bpd, up 38,000 bpd from the previous month, according to secondary sources, S&P Platts reported".

Oil markets were also watching Hurricane Florence offshore the United States amid surging demand for gasoline and diesel, although crude output will not be affected on the storm's current route.

As Middle East markets tighten, Asian buyers are seeking alternative supplies, with South Korean and Japanese imports of USA crude hitting a record in September.

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