Oil Near Three-Year High as Iran Decision Looms

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Oil prices slid more than 1 percent on Tuesday as the dollar remained near a four-month high, but worries that U.S. President Donald Trump will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal underpinned the market. Fritsch said the cuts, along with demand growth, were more than offsetting the increase in United States oil. The Brent Crude, the global benchmark, briefly soared above $75 per barrel on Monday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Iran was lying on its implementation of JCPOA conditions.

Iran's crude and condensate exports in April were 2.87 MMbpd, Shana reported.

Europe takes around 700,000 b/d or one-third of Iranian crude exports, and is a key outlet for the OPEC member. Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement allowed Iran in principle to develop its ageing energy infrastructure with foreign investment and facilitate slow integration of its long-embargoed economy with the wider financial markets. Beyond the threat of new Iran sanctions, other factors prevented crude prices from rising further, including a rising dollar since mid-April as well as soaring USA supplies, traders said. On the other hand, the U.S. has also overtaken the Saudi Arabia as it became the 2 largest crude producer after Russian Federation. Arburn expects prices to hover around their current prices and only rise a bit more if at all.

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Sources also said that Saudi Arabia and Iraq, both of which produce similar crude to Iran, are most likely to benefit if U.S. sanctions start to curb the supply of Iranian loadings. He was quoted saying, "We'll see what happens".

Bringing back oil revenues became a priority for the Iranian government, whose economy was crippled by years of sanctions, with its banking sector teetering on the verge of collapse. "If there were additional difficulties to lift Iranian [oil], some volumes might be increased to others; a rebalancing of volumes but nothing big". Other reasons he cited were geopolitical disturbances and whether the Iran nuclear deal will be recertified or not. "I'm not telling you what I'm doing, but a lot of people think they know".

"Thus, higher U.S. oil production is needed to plug the supply gap", said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank, referring to the lack of extra barrels from other OPEC members to compensate for declines. Crude extended losses briefly in post-settlement trade, after industry trade group the American Petroleum Institute released weekly inventory figures showing a larger-than-expected crude stockpile build. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 32.12 million barrels per day this month, the survey found, down 70,000 bpd from March. At the moment traders are unwilling to sign contracts for Iranian crude and re-fined products that would be valid after May 12. Iran, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), re-emerged as a major oil exporter in January, 2016 when global sanctions against Tehran were lifted in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear program.

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