US oil prices rise as Gulf oil rigs evacuated ahead of hurricane

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Iran's exports and oil production collapsed in 2012 after Barack Obama, then US president, led a global coalition to curb purchases to try to force the Persian country into restricting its nuclear program.

Near-term futures for Brent crude, the benchmark for more than half the world's oil, are trading higher than later contracts in a market structure known as backwardation that typically signals a supply squeeze.

Crude oil futures were stable to higher during mid-morning trade in Asia Tuesday, with the Brent futures contract largely unchanged on the back of stable production data from Russian Federation and the NYMEX WTI contract edging higher ahead of the release of weekly United States inventory reports.

Given that China and emerging markets more broadly are key demand growth areas for oil markets, analysts said crude prices had come under downward pressure.

As oil markets show growing global supply concern, Iraq is signaling the jitters may be overdone.

"In any case, the government intends to have talks with the USA tenaciously in order to continue Iranian crude oil imports", Seko added.

A set of US sanctions targeting Iran's oil industry is due to take effect in November.

Meanwhile, there are concerns that USA sanctions against Iran, which will target the OPEC-member's oil industry from November, will tighten global supply.

Edward Bell, analyst at Emirates NBD bank in Dubai, agreed: "Iranian production is already showing signs of decline, falling by 150,000 Bpd last month ..."

FGE estimates Iran's exports will slump to below 1 million barrels a day by mid-2019, while industry consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. expects a plunge of 1.5 to 1.7 million in daily shipments by the end of this year from current levels of about 2.5 million.

US oil prices edged up on Tuesday, rising back past $70 per barrel, after two Gulf of Mexico oil platforms were evacuated in preparation for a hurricane.

As Iranian oil is cheaper than that from other countries, the suspension will increase the distributors' costs and could lead to higher gasoline prices in Japan.

Oman's oil minister, also speaking to CNBC, said not enough attention was being paid to how trade tensions could damage China's demand for oil. According to a private survey, export orders have dropped down for the fifth straight month.

"It isn't at all clear that such type of economic headwinds will topple oil prices", Innes said.

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