Oil up as US sanctions on Iran expected to tighten supply

Saudi Arabia Reduced Oil Production in July

Oil firm

The oil prices had a slightly downtrend movement in the week ending August 3, posting a fourth loss in the past five weeks. WTI settled at $69.17 on Tuesday and opened at $69.11 Wednesday morning.

Looming US sanctions against Iran will likely hit Tehran's oil sales overseas, and it could lead to a price spike in oil contracts. Prices could easily soar if tensions rise and violence spills over into the oil market.

Gold futures for delivery in December on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange went up $3.5, or 0.29 percent, to $1,221.7 per troy ounce.

Syncrude Canada's nameplate capacity stands for roughly 10 percent of the Canadian crude oil supply.

US Gulf Coast stocks fell 861,000 barrels to 216.47 million barrels.

Spot demand for Iranian crude in Europe has fallen sharply, but those refiners that have term deals with Iran are still honoring their contracts, sources said.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 1 cent at $69.02 barrel.

As reported by Bloomberg, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih promised to add, in cooperation with other OPEC allies, about one mmbbl of oil.

Saudi Arabia Reduced Oil Production in July

The sanctions are already brewing a potential confrontation between the United States and Iran as Tehran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, an important sea route through which tankers ship more than 30 per cent of crude oil to the worldwide market, in retaliation to the sanctions.

The U.S. sanctions targeting the Iranian oil industry will be effective on November 5, but Stratas believes "South Korea remains a potentially significant opportunity for American crude exports".

Saudi Arabia is also home to 3.2 million Indians, the largest expatriate community in the kingdom whose annual remittances are worth about $10 billion.

Additionally, there are also reports that many US shale oil drillers posted disappointing quarterly results in recent weeks, hit by rising operating costs, hedging losses and a drop in crude prices away from 2018 highs reached between May and July.

He noted that: "Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States". Friday's Baker Hughes crude oil rig count was down slightly from last week, reducing the number of oil rig counts from 861 to 859.

USA crude futures were down 67 cents at $68.50 a barrel; front-month Brent crude oil futures were down 38 cents on the day at $74.27 a barrel. The differential was 4.72 dollars at the end of the week. This July, OPEC, Russia and other significant players agreed to gradually raise output for fear of supply deficit on the market.

The higher differentials between the two major benchmarks are, the more arbitrage opportunities for traders to pursue.

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