India decides to import crude oil from Iran

Saudis, Russia open the oil taps while the market shrugs

On a related matter, Reuters reported on October 5 that Indian crude importers intend to keep buying oil from Iran in November after USA sanctions go into effect and are seeking a waiver from the sanctions from Washington.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for November delivery on Friday rose to US$74.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Russia's involvement in the deal may seem surprising given that Russia publicly vowed in August to do "everything necessary" to protect its shared economic interests with Tehran - including the estimated $50 billion in Russian investments in Iran's oil sector that Russia has said will continue despite US plans to sanction the Iranian oil and gas sectors beginning on November 4.

Khamenei said the USA has no other solution to confront Iran except through economic sanctions.

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The increased production also failed this week to prevent premium crude prices from hitting a four-year high above $86 a barrel in London trading.

Saudi Arabia is juggling intense pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to boost output and ease oil prices, with preserving the balance it's successfully brought to the market.

Many analysts say they expect Iranian exports to drop by around 1 million barrels per day (bpd).

USA crude exports can not increase rapidly enough to replace Iranian barrels, until the Permian pipeline bottleneck eases in mid-2019.

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India, second only to China in its purchases of Iranian oil, said last week that it would buy nine million barrels from Iran in a different currency from the United States dollar.

With Iran sanctions still on the table, potential spare capacity constraints and also a slowdown in USA drilling, US bank J.P.Morgan said in its latest cross-asset outlook for clients that it recommended to "stay long Jan '19 WTI on supply risks to crude".

In May, Trump pulled the USA out of the Iran nuclear deal despite objection from the other signatories, the UK, Russia, Germany, China, and France, re-imposing sanctions lifted under the deal. Rising costs and pipeline bottlenecks in the nation's largest oil field have hindered new drilling since June.

Like Putin, Al-Falih blamed part of the increase on the market's anticipation of disruptions in Iran and elsewhere, rather than the current balance between supply and demand. "But the price for the Saudi strategy to cover those supply losses are extreme low spare capacity, and that worries the market".

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