Oil prices slip after Trump criticizes OPEC

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The president also suggested it was unfair that OPEC raises prices when, "We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us".

Iran said on Thursday vowed to veto any decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its non-member allies seeking to harm Tehran's interests.

High petrol prices can be an issue for voters, and Trump's attacks come just a couple of months ahead of the United States midterms, where analysts say rising prices could hurt Republicans.

Reuters reported on September 5 that Saudi Arabia wanted oil to stay between $70 and $80 to keep a balance between maximizing revenue and keeping a lid on prices until USA congressional elections.

And just as inevitably, oil prices pulled back slightly as the brash billionaire tweeted his displeasure on Thursday: Brent settled down 78 cents at $78.70 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate settled down 32 cents at $70.80 per barrel - after rising almost 2 percent in the previous session.

Brent crude oil LCOc1 settled down 78 cents at $78.70 a barrel.

As the Brent-WTI spread started widening to average $5 a barrel in the first half of 2018, East Coast refineries again increased their purchases of domestic crude oil, but this time in far lower quantities than in 2015, the EIA noted.

The market's expectation was a draw of 2.7 million barrels in crude oil inventories. USA oil inventories are about 3 percent below the 5-year average for this time of year.

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Iran gradually increased its oil exports in 2016 and 2017 after its nuclear deal with world powers was implemented in January 2016 and its oil (including gas condensate) export revenues increased by 45% year-on-year in 2017, higher than the OPEC's average.

US sanctions on Iran's oil exports come into force on November 4.

But keeping Iranian barrels off the market tightens supply and puts upward pressure on prices, which creates political risks for Republicans, particularly before midterm elections.

The oil price dropped after the tweet.

"Spare capacity could fall below 1 percent of demand by year-end if Iranian exports fall below 1 million barrels per day, as now seems likely", Gammel said.

However, many Americans are unhappy to see that energy prices are on the rise.

OPEC members will meet this weekend with non-OPEC producers such as Russian Federation to discuss production levels.

Mostly, however, it's the uncertainty over how easily other producers can compensate for any lost supply.

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