Oil rises as investors fret over Iranian supply gaps

A general view of the 4th Iranian Petroleum and Energy Club Congress & Exhibition held in Tehran on Oct. 16 2018

A general view of the 4th Iranian Petroleum and Energy Club Congress & Exhibition held in Tehran on Oct. 16 2018

Oil inched up on Thursday amid tension over the death of a prominent Saudi journalist, with prices steadying after a big drop overnight due to a jump in USA crude stockpiles.

Saudi Arabia said this month it would ramp up production by 300,000 barrels per day to help offset a sharp reduction of Iran's crude exports next month.

During 2017, Iran was Turkey's top crude oil source, accounting for 11.5 million tonnes of its total purchases nearing 26 million tonnes, followed by Iraq and Russian Federation.

us crude inventories rose 6.5M barrels last week, almost 3x analyst consensus expectations, even as USA crude production fell 300K bbl/day to 10.9M bbl/day as offshore facilities closed temporarily due to Hurricane Michael. Late Thursday afternoon, light, sweet crude for November delivery was 0.9% lower at $69.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

OPEC officials are concerned that increased USA oil production and a seasonal buildup of oil stock could put downward pressure on oil prices, according to an internal document shared among members and reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

"As our leaders have said, it will be impossible to stop Iran from selling its oil", the source said, adding: "We have various ways of selling our oil and when the tankers reach Dalian, we will decide whether to sell it to other buyers or to China".

Offering oil will be continued till November 4, the date when the second round of US sanctions will be imposed, and the new decision about continuing selling crude oil in the stock market for export and some other details in this regard would rely on the made assessments and the gained experiences in this period, Kardor said.

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Oil prices nudged higher on Friday on signs of surging demand in China, the world's second-biggest oil user, though prices are set to fall for a second week amid concerns of the ongoing Sino-US trade war is limiting overall economic activity.

But President Donald Trump on Wednesday gave Saudi Arabia the benefit of the doubt in the journalist's disappearance, suggesting the White House may not take additional action against Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has threatened to retaliate against potential sanctions from the United States over the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Although US has offered both F-16 and F-18 fighter aircraft to India, it will be easier in Washington to make a case for moving the F-16 production line to India.

Money managers cut net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in NY and London by 37,080 contracts to 259,375 in the week to October 16, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday - the lowest level since September 19, 2017.

Dalian is a major oil hub in China and, Reuters notes, Iran has used storage facilities at the port to keep crude during the previous worldwide round of sanctions against Tehran. At the same time, according to the EIA, the USA consumes more than 20 million barrels every day.

These declines came despite increasing tensions with Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter.

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