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The higher crude oil prices at the end of 2018 and in 2019 will likely support increased global crude oil production.

"The weekly inventory data is unlikely to provide any respite, with a fifth consecutive build expected to United States oil inventories", said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData.

One of the biggest concerns for the oil market is demand. Cumulatively the value of oil imports from Iran between April and September 2018 more than doubled to $7.74 billion from $3.84 billion in the corresponding period a year ago.

The new sanctions also are expected to impact Iran's condensate production. A sharp increase in inventories mean that the price of crude may continue to decline.

The outlook for next year is "very unpredictable" in terms of both supply and demand, Al-Falih said at a conference in Riyadh this week.

The minister reiterated that the market is unable to find a replacement for Iran's oil, urging Trump to abandon his plan to impose sanctions on the country. Elsewhere, gold has climbed to a three-month high. However, it is uncertain if there will be any other producers to compensate for lost supplies from Iran.

According to Mriganka Jaipuriyar, associate editorial director at S&P Global Platts, oil markets will remain on tenterhooks as there is lack of clarity on Iran's real crude oil export volumes.


The WTI Crude Oil market had a solid day on Thursday, reaching towards the $67.50 level. It fell earlier to $75.11, the lowest since August 24. To get waivers, he said buyers would be required to cut oil imports from Iran by more than the 20% demanded during the Obama administration. That trend has continued in the first six months of the current fiscal. USA crude dropped 30c to $66.13.

Earlier this month, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman said the kingdom was fulfilling promises to the United States to make up a shortfall in world oil supplies resulting from the loss of Iranian production under U.S. sanctions.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has recently been talking about preventing prices from rising too much. It has continuously warned OPEC members against increasing production unilaterally.

On Tuesday, Zangeneh reiterated Iran's position that neither Saudi Arabia nor Russian Federation can replace Iranian oil.

Oil prices dipped on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia pledged to play a "responsible role" in energy markets, although sentiment remained nervous in the run-up to US sanctions against Iran's crude exports that start next month, Reutersreports. Total non-OPEC participation is 20 million barrel per day (bpd), but Russian Federation alone gives 11 million bpd.

The WTI crude oil continues to trade bullish despite an unexpected rise in crude oil inventories last week. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 5 million barrels per day.

OPEC spare production capacity in 2018 of about 1.6 million barrels per day will fall to 1.3 million barrels per day in 2019, down from 2.1 million barrels per day in 2017, it said.


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