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Crude Oil

It's likely that some countries will seek an exemption from sanctions on Iranian oil purchases, and the U.S. will consider these applications, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

In the intervening weeks, a sense of bullishness has taken over the oil market, with fears that even maximum production from Saudi Arabia wouldn't be enough to compensate for some 2.5 mb/d of disrupted Iranian supply.

Barclays plc this week raised its outlook for Brent crude oil prices for this year from $70 per barrel to $73 per barrel. While the South Asian country has said it plans to seek exemptions and is also looking at alternate payment mechanisms, the government's also asked refiners to brace for all eventualities, including zero imports. So the Pompeo announcement came as a surprise for those holding long futures contracts.

Economists expect the Brent crude oil price to average between $72 (R963) and $80 per barrel for the remainder of the year, due to geopolitical risk factors.

A decision on what to do about imports from Iran by China and India, who together bought about 1.4 million barrels a day of Iranian crude over the past three months, will probably have a larger impact on the broader oil market.

Saudi Arabia hiked its oil output in June to the highest level since the end of 2016, as it aims to cool the market after crude prices recently rose to 3½-year highs.

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Secondly, the recent rally was being supported partly from a drop in Libyan output.

Libyan oil production has fallen to 527,000 barrels per day (bpd) from a high of 1.28 million bpd in February following port closures in late June, the NOC said on Monday.

A separate State Department official told reporters that the USA was working with Saudi Arabia to avoid price volatility. Additionally, at some time in the near future, the Canadian pipeline problem will be fixed and the supply disruption over.

Adding to the Bearish mood were signs of a possible relaxation of USA sanctions on Iranian Crude Oil exports.

The Taiwanese end-user could have paid premiums of around $1/b to Platts Dated Brent on a delivered basis, market sources said, adding that light sweet U.S. crude cargoes offered into Asia recently have been quoted at attractive price levels.

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