Iran Blames US for Turmoil on Oil Market

Oil prices rise on Saudi tensions; demand outlook drags

Crude prices climbed to multiyear highs in recent weeks, with investors increasingly anxious that as much as 2 million barrels a day of Iranian oil exports could be removed from the global supply when USA sanctions on the country are applied next month.

Brent crude rose 78 cents to $81.56 a barrel by 2:01 p.m. EDT (1801 GMT), while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 30 cents at $72.08 a barrel. The global benchmark, which hit a more than two-week low late last week as equity markets dropped, is trading around $5 below a four-year high of $86.74 marked on October 3. Meanwhile, responding to U.S. President Donald Trump's call for lower oil prices, "The oil market is suffering from short supply and this can not be resolved by words".

In addition to these comments, escalating political tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States and the potential negative impact on Saudi oil supply provided an additional boost to crude oil. Deliveries of Saudi crude to the Port Arthur refinery, the largest in the USA, have accounted for almost 28 percent of Saudi barrels to the US this year, up from 20 percent in 2017.

Zanganeh explained that Saudi Arabia is now using its oil reserves while the U.S. has announced that it will not use its reserves until ambiguities about the fate of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are cleared.

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U.S. President Donald Trump threatened "severe punishment" if it is found that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate.

Meanwhile, new figures are out for USA oil inventories.

Falih said he told India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan that Saudi Arabia is committed to meeting its growing oil demand.

India's oil demand is expected to rise by 5.8 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2040, accounting for about 40% of the overall increase in global demand during the period, OPEC's secretary general said on during the weekend.

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India plans to build two strategic storage facilities to hold 6.5 million tonnes of oil costing around 110 billion Rupees ($1.6 billion) through a joint partnership between an Indian state firm and private company.

"The oil that Saudi Arabia presented to the market recently was not its excessive production but was its past reserves", Zanganeh disclosed.

But for this spare capacity that Saudi Arabia has used to deliver extra barrels in the market, oil prices would "easily be at the three-digit range", he said.

The EIA report further said that gasoline stockpiles fell by 2 million barrels last week, while distillate stockpiles declined by 800,000 barrels.

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