Iran refutes Saudi claim that can meet post-sanctions oil demand

Oil Barrels

USA light crude CLc1 was down 5 cents at $74.91.

"We view this [oil] as one of our top national security priorities", a senior administration official told the Free Beacon at the time.

The first piece of bearish news weighing on prices today is the report that a USA government official said on Friday that the country could consider exemptions for nations that have already shown efforts to reduce their imports of Iranian oil. The announcement, the first indication Washington was considering such waivers, followed a Reuters report that India planned to lift some Iranian oil in November although it has been cutting back on Iranian imports recent months.

For weeks, crude oil has been underpinned and driven higher by US sanctions set to target Iran's crude oil exports during the first week in November, and the Trump administration has been leaning on governments and global companies to cut their imports to zero.

Iran's Oil Minister this week brushed off "nonsense" claims by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that Saudi Arabia can replace Iranian oil.

With the European Union considering the creation of a "special objective vehicle" before November to facilitate trade with Iran, India hopes to find a way to settle payments to Tehran. The Trump administration is considering waivers on sanctions for countries that are reducing their imports.

Last applied from 2012 to 2015, the sanctions are in retaliation for Iran's supposed nuclear proliferation program. "State's been pushing very hard on this, they deserve a lot of credit for their efforts, so let's see what they come up with before criticizing". The global benchmark hit a four-year high of $86.74 last week but slipped as low as $82.66 on Monday.

However, Oil Minister Pradhan said India would continue to purchase Iranian crude in November, according to Reuters.

"These officials are planning to announce that it's OK to give banks waivers because re-imposed sanctions on businesses are sufficient", the source explained.

During the first round of sanctions when European Union joined the United States in imposing financial restrictions, India initially used a Turkish bank to pay Iran for the oil it bought but beginning February 2013 paid almost half of the oil import bill in rupees while keeping the remainder pending till opening of payment routes.

The softer stance on Iran plus news that Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation could ramp up oil production to compensate for the sanctions has lowered oil prices slightly.

The best value zone for the November WTI crude oil market is $72.35 to $71.27.

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