Oil prices steady after yesterday's drop despite 6m jump in stockpiles

Why India needs to rethink its relationship with OPEC

Why India needs to rethink its relationship with OPEC

Iran, for its part, is keen to keep its single biggest oil customer when USA sanctions on Iranian oil exports kick in. Tehran is forecast to suffer from further declines in oil production and exports as the November 4 deadline for the USA re-imposition of sanctions on its energy industry looms.

Oil was mixed on Wednesday, remaining unchanged and paring losses after hitting its lowest since late August, pressured by concern that demand is weakening and supply ample even as USA sanctions loom on oil exporter Iran. Markets were unmoved after data from Baker Hughes showed that the number of United States drilling rigs rose by four to a total of 873, the highest since March 2015.

Falih said he would not rule out that Saudi oil output would be 1-2 million barrels per day higher than current levels in future as oil demand growth is expected to keep rising.

In September, Iran's crude oil and condensate exports fell to 1.9 million b/d.

"Brent and WTI got caught up in the risk-off markets and the API release later in the day didn't offer any chance of reprieve as it reported a huge build of 9.88m barrels, against expectations of a much smaller increase".

US oil prices further dived 4.22 percent Tuesday as Saudi Arabia vowed to enhance oil production and USA stock markets sank on disappointing earnings reports.

"Sentiment in the crude-oil market has - surprisingly fast - turned from the '$95 in a matter of weeks' on Iran sanctions to long liquidation and despair", said Ole Hansen, head of commodities strategy at Saxo Bank A/S. Trade press reports indicate that as countries continue to decrease imports from Iran, some of Iran's shipping fleet is already being used as floating storage, where crude oil is placed onto ships and stored indefinitely.

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. He even said in an interview that Iraq hopes to produce 7 million bpd through the NOC and export 4 million bpd in 2019. This was higher than the 1.8 million that traders were expecting.

However, the report in question also showed that refinery consumption may rise through the fourth quarter as several state-owned Chinese refiners return to service after maintenance.

"We have to continue to monitor the market in the next two to three months", Falih said.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, UK Trade Minister Liam Fox and Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra also pulled out of the conference earlier in the day, while Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said a trade mission planned for December to Saudi Arabia likely would not go ahead, either.

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