Oil pares gains, market supported by Iran worries

Continuous geopolitical risk could push oil price to above US$80 per barrel: Maybank IB

Oil pares gains, market supported by Iran worries

While upside risks to the forecast include constraints to USA shale oil output, geopolitical risks in several producing countries, and concerns the United States may not waive sanctions against Iran, downside risks include weaker compliance with the oil producers' agreement to restrain output or outright termination of the accord, rising output from Libya and Nigeria, and a quicker-than-expected rise in shale oil output.

The sentiment Thursday shifted from earlier in the week, when oil prices fell after Trump said the USA and France could reach an agreement "fairly quickly" on the Iran nuclear deal.

Brent crude oil futures were up 74 cents, or 1%, at $74.74/Bbl by 2:29 p.m. ET.

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

"They want to try and work out a deal that could be independent of any kind of Trump walk-away", said Bob Yawger, director of futures at Mizuho Securities USA Inc.in NY.

Oil prices have risen this month to their highest since late 2014, driven by concern over potential disruptions to Iranian crude flows.

Prices will be pressured by rising USA production as shale drillers try to take advantage of higher prices by ramping up activity.

U.S. pushes Riyadh to confront Tehran, stirs crisis
"Their aim is to create more regional crisis.to push Muslims to fight against Muslims", Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. Iran was at the heart of discussions he held with officials in the Kingdom.

"We'll see oil fluctuating as uncertainties will persist over whether Trump will withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement", Vincent Hwang, a commodities analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co., said by phone in Seoul.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $67.89 a barrel, down 21 cents, or about 0.3 per cent, from their last settlement. The more-active July contract traded at $73.16. The global benchmark crude traded at a US$6.43 premium to June WTI. Only Russia now produces more, at around 11 million bpd.

Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest crude exporter, appointed new board members with experience in worldwide oil and petrochemical businesses as it plans a possible overseas share sale in what could be a record initial public offering. USA crude stockpiles probably increased by 1.25 million barrels, according to the median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

USA crude inventories likely rose by 1.3 million barrels last week, while gasoline and distillate stockpiles fell, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday ahead of data by the Industry group the American Petroleum Institute later in the day.

Soaring U.S. output has made WTI crude roughly $6/Bbl cheaper than Brent and raised exports to record highs.

Because of the tighter market, the forward curve for Brent is now above $70 per barrel until the end of 2018, and prices are above $60 per barrel through 2020.

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