Iranian oil minister calls Trump's order to OPEC insulting

08 July, 2018, 01:35 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Iran's OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili

Recent price rises have also been spurred by the USA announcement it plans to reintroduce sanctions against Iran beginning November 4, targeting oil exports.

Oil fell on Thursday after U.S. government data showed an unexpected build in crude oil stockpiles.

The leader of Saudi Arabia, OPEC's biggest member, has assured Trump that the kingdom can raise oil production if needed, and that the country has 2 million barrels per day of spare capacity that could be deployed to help cool oil prices to compensate for falling output in Venezuela and Iran.

August West Texas Intermediate crude, the US benchmark, on the New York Mercantile Exchange, fell 55 cents, or 0.8 percent to $72.39 a barrel.

Trump has lashed out at OPEC producers to reduce prices, making a claim - later backtracked by the White House - in a tweet on Saturday that Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase oil output by up to 2 million barrels.

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Trump on Wednesday accused the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries of driving fuel prices higher, and urged Saudi Arabia to pump more if it wanted Washington to continue protecting it against its top rival Iran.

"This must be a two way street", he wrote, adding in block capitals, "REDUCE PRICING NOW!"

US crude futures were down 58 cents at $73.56 per barrel by 12:00 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT), still in sight of Tuesday's 3-1/2-year high above $75.

"Saudi lowered some of the prices for some of its products to Asia and to Europe and to the U.S. Seems like this is sort of related to Trump tweets", said Stewart Glickman, energy equity analyst at CFRA Research in NY.

However, oil prices have shot up and Trump, anxious about the impact on USA voters ahead of November midterm elections, is appealing to the Saudis for help.

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Saudi Arabia had political reasons to respond positively to Trump's request, given its animosity to arch-rival Iran, which Trump is trying to bring to its knees through strict new sanctions.

OPEC together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russian Federation started to withhold output totaling 1.8 million barrels per day (MMBPD) in January 2017, to prop up the market.

OPEC together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russian Federation started to withhold output in 2017 to prop up prices.

Despite the pressure from the US, Indian official sources who briefed the media on Wednesday made it clear that Iran, India's third largest supplier of oil, remains an "important near neighbour".

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