Oil holds just below $80, supported by supply concerns

Oil holds just below $80, supported by supply concerns

Oil holds just below $80, supported by supply concerns

Brent crude oil futures gained 25 cents to $78.34 per barrel as of 0727 GMT, reversing a 0.2 percent loss earlier in the session.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 fell 20 cents or 0.3 percent, to $68.79 a barrel.

Oil prices firmed on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia indicated it was comfortable with a higher price range ahead of a meeting between major producing countries in Algeria.

"It will be no easy feat for Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation to balance declining production from Iran and Venezuela", said Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy in London, Reuters reported.

Refineries in the USA consumed about 17.7-million barrels a day of crude oil last week while China's refiners used about 11.8-million barrels a day in August, according to government data from the countries, the most among the world's countries.

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Iran is the third-largest producer among the members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Iran's oil exports have been falling in recent months as more buyers, including its second-largest buyer India, cut imports ahead of USA sanctions that take effect in November.

Brent may fall more than $1 to $76.37 a barrel, while WTI crude prices may revisit their September 14 low of $67.94, he wrote.

Ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC producers meet this coming Sunday to discuss compliance with output policies.

Bloomberg reported that while Saudi Arabia had no desire to push prices higher than US$80, it may no longer be possible to avoid it.

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Output from Iran has hit its lowest level since July 2016 as top buyers India and China distance themselves from Tehran due to looming U.S. sanctions on November 5, according to the International Energy Agency.

US President Donald Trump has called for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries members, primarily US ally Saudi Arabia, to raise their production, and warned importers to stop buying oil from Iran or face American sanctions.

Official U.S. government data is due to be released on Wednesday.

"The brinkmanship between Beijing and Washington has the potential to severely impact the competitiveness of US crude oil and petroleum products in the Chinese market, and it will also deter Chinese investment in the USA energy sector", said Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy in London.

"We have no choice but continue to work with all parties", he added.

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