Crude Oil Gaps Higher After OPEC Cools Off Production Hikes

Trump's Blow to Iranian Oil Sparks Curious Price Divergence

Oil prices were mixed on Friday after falling in the previous session as U.S. President Donald Trump urged OPEC to lower crude prices ahead of its meeting in Algeria this weekend.

"If there is a fall not only from Iran, but anybody else, it is the responsibility of OPEC and non-OPEC to balance the market", Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, who represents Iran on OPEC's board of governors, told reporters.

The tightening USA market came ahead of sanctions that Washington plans to implement against Iran's petroleum exports from early November. In its annual World Oil Outlook, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries forecast world supply of all hydrocarbons (primarily oil and liquified natural gas) would rise from a current 98.4 million barrels per day (mbd) to 104.5 million by 2023, and 111.9 million by 2040.

Iran's production "is going to be significantly less than it was, and probably lower than most people expected when the sanctions were announced", Luckock said at the APPEC event. He sees $90 oil by Christmas and $100 in early 2019.

Aviation companies share prices fell 4-6 percent and oil marketing companies dipped 1-2 percent as Brent crude futures, the worldwide benchmark for oil prices, climbed above $80 a barrel mark.

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In addition to USA sanctions cutting Iranian supply, the world is also dealing with a decline in Venezuelan oil production due to an economic crisis in the Latin American nation, according to Trafigura's Luckock. Output in Venezuela is also slumping due to an economic crisis.

"The biggest issue is not with the producing countries, it's with the refiners, it's with the demand".

Traders should also keep a close eye on the release of the Baker-Hughes Rig Count, in addition to announcements from the Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference and further statements from President Trump regarding OPEC.

Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates insisted they had the spare capacity to satisfy the market's needs, but wouldn't tap it preemptively.

"I do not influence prices", Falih told reporters in Algiers ahead of a meeting of OPEC ministers and allies such as Russian Federation to discuss the situation in oil markets. "We in Saudi Arabia have not seen demand for any additional barrel that we did not produce". Indeed, Saudi Oil Minister Al-Falih said that the kingdom expects to pump more oil in October and expressed readiness to increase output if demand continues to rise.

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