OPEC chief says Iran still ‘very important as USA sanctions loom

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News OPEC may not be rushing into further production also boost commitments after the one they agreed upon in June.

Increases in both crude oil prices and in net OPEC oil exports drove revenues higher in 2017, and the EIA expects that revenues will continue to increase in 2018, based on its August 'Short-Term Energy Outlook'.

Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major exporting countries are scheduled to meet Sunday in Algiers to review the oil market.

Crude oil prices peaked at a near-term high of with WTI tapping into 70.40 on Tuesday, but was unable to make a challenge of last week's high of 71.25 after USA oil inventories showed yet another surprise build-up in their barrel counts yesterday. Trump sent several tweets stating that prices are too high after Brent rose to a three-year high in May.

The change in Saudi Arabia's view on prices coincides with some intense oil diplomacy.

Prices in NY and London both rose as much as 2.2 percent in the previous session after Saudi Arabia was said to be comfortable with higher crude prices, at least in the short term, as the market adjusts to the loss of Iranian supplies.

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Iran is the third-largest oil producer in the after Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Meanwhile, an industry report Tuesday showed US crude stockpiles increased 1.25 million barrels last week, defying expectations for a decline ahead of government data Wednesday.

OPEC and non-OPEC compliance with the Vienna Agreement production ceiling slipped to 97 percent in July as large producers relaxed output constraints amid falling production in crisis-hit Venezuela and expectations that Iran may be prevented from exporting oil to large parts of the globe.

Oil prices on Wednesday pulled back from gains racked up the previous day, pushed down amid a surprise climb in U.S. crude stockpiles. The kingdom, according to people briefed by Saudi officials, would prefer to be cautious.

US sanctions affecting Iran's petroleum sector will come into force from November 4, though many buyers have already curbed their purchases, raising questions about how the market will make up the lost supply.

Prices pared gains in post-settlement trade after data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed USA crude inventories rose by 1.2 million barrels in the week to September 14 to 397.1 million, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 2.7 million barrels.

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