Markets

Iran oil exports fall before USA sanctions: global banking group

Iran oil exports fall before USA sanctions: global banking group

Iranian Minister of Petroleum has welcomed OPECs decision effectively rebuffing President Donald Trump's calls for a hike in oil output, saying U.S. empty dream to zero Irans oil exports would not realize.

A pumpjack brings oil to the surface in the Monterey Shale, California, U.S., April 29, 2013.

Brent crude futures settled up 67 cents at US$81.87 a barrel. On Tuesday, Brent oil hit $82 per barrel for the first time since 2014.

Amid all this, the EIA's report that USA refineries processed 16.5 million barrels daily last week-a considerable reduction from a week earlier-and produced 9.8 million bpd of gasoline and 5 million bpd of distillate is likely to have a largely local effect, affecting West Texas Intermediate.

The aggressive deadline has left the market to wonder whether top exporter Saudi Arabia and other producers can fill the gap left by the anticipated loss of about 1 million barrels a day in the coming months.

"As a result, we expect Brent prices to stabilize back in their $70-80/bbl range into year-end", wrote the analysts. "However, overall the market remains supported as sanctions on Iranian exports take hold".

Iranian "ghost tankers" are dismantling their vessel tracking systems upon leaving the Strait of Hormuz in a bid to sell oil secretly around the world as Tehran braces for the Trump administration to reimpose harsh sanctions on its energy sector.

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Global benchmark Brent is on course for its fifth consecutive quarterly increase, the longest stretch since early 2007, when a six-quarter run led to a record high of US$147.50 a barrel.

Several big buyers, such as a number of Indian refiners, have signaled they will wind down purchases of Iranian crude, yet the impact on global markets is not yet clear.

Ben Luckock, who is the co-head of oil trading at fellow merchant Trafigura also said that crude oil prices could hike up to $90 per barrel by Christmas and $100 by the start of New Year as the markets tighten.

In a speech before the United Nations, Mr Trump reiterated calls on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to pump more oil and stop raising prices.

The so-called "Opec+" group, which includes Russia, Oman and Kazakhstan, met over the weekend to discuss a possible increase in crude output, but the group was in no rush to do so.

Commerzbank said in a note that "the latest rise in oil prices is due primarily to Trump himself. he has focused the market's attention on the Iran sanctions again, even though the market is adequately supplied at present thanks to the increase in OPEC and Russian production".

Commodity merchants Trafigura and Mercuria have warned that the price of oil, now at $69.85 per barrel, could go all the way up to $100 per barrel by the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019.


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