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24 October 2018, 01:44 | Vera Richards
US issues warning to Russia about helping Iran escape upcoming oil sanctions
The kingdom has already boosted oil production to 10.7 million barrels a day, near an all-time high, and it can increase it even more to help plug any supply shortfalls due to US sanctions against Iran's energy industry, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told a conference in Riyadh.
Trying to dismiss such worries, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday that "there is no intention" for such action, and that Saudi Arabia would play a "constructive and responsible role" in world energy markets.
Harsh, but with the deal maker in the White House, if the United States has a reason to squeeze Saudi Arabia to bump up production and keep a lid/lower crude oil prices, this is the time.
US light crude dropped $3.03, or 4.4 percent, to $66.33 a barrel, after earlier hitting a two-month low at $65.74.
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He added there is NO guarantee that oil prices would not go higher once anti-Iran sanctions come into force next month.
"Saudi Arabia is a completely responsible country". Shipping brokerage Eastport said crude prices were "expected to decline in coming months, as rising production in the USA offsets increasing global demand".
Several U.S. lawmakers have suggested imposing sanctions on Saudi Arabia in recent days while the kingdom, the world's largest oil exporter, has pledged to retaliate against any sanctions with "bigger measures". And Saudi Arabia has been consistent in its policy. Riyadh has refrained from using oil as a direct weapon since then.
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"We have just upgraded our price forecasts for 2019 Brent by $20.5 per barrel to $83.5 per barrel", the U.S. bank said, adding that this "bullish argument is strongly driven by tighter supply due to Iranian sanctions and declining spare capacity".
US crude inventories probably rose 3.7 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts.
Concerns about the health of the global economy, leading to the equities selloff, are seeping into the oil market.
Other OPEC members, meanwhile, had added only 105,000 barrels per day of extra oil in total during the period, which means they are not capable of producing more than current levels, he said.
"Politics are coming into the picture and maybe this is what (the Saudis) will do, but as far as next year's supply/demand balance is concerned, it's not justified for them to increase production", PVM Oil Associates strategist Tamas Varga said.
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