Iran oil sales still strong ahead of sanctions

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However, Jahangiri insisted that US claims of Saudi oil replacing Iran's exports are a "lie" and said that oil has climbed from $30 to $80 a barrel and if the USA could stop all Iranian exports, the price would have reached $100. One is led by National Security Adviser John Bolton, who wants the toughest possible approach, and another by State Department officials keen to balance sanctions against preventing an oil price spike that could damage the U.S. and its allies.

"We are determined to implement our policy of maximum pressure on Iran".

On the supply side, however, oil markets remain tense ahead of looming U.S. sanctions against Iran's crude exports, which are set to start next week and are expected to tighten supply, especially to Asia which takes most of Iran's shipments.

"Mounting perception of a weakening in global oil demand due to increasing tariff issues between the US and China, while extremely hard to measure, will be maintaining some negative influence in keeping would-be buyers sidelined", Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said in a note.

However, the effects of the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May, the resumption of Iran sanctions and the potential response from other countries pose significant uncertainty to the forecast.

NIOC offered a million barrels of crude oil on IRENEX on Sunday, of which 280,000 barrels were traded.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Tuesday said high oil prices were hurting consumers and could dent fuel demand at a time of slowing global economic activity.

In North America, however, there is no oil shortage as United States crude oil production C-OUT-T-EIA has increased by nearly a third since mid-2016 to around 11 million barrels per day.

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Baghdad has been saying that it would abide by the US sanctions on Iran.

U.S. commercial crude oil stockpiles in the week ending October 19 rose 6.3 million barrels week on week while total petroleum inventories dropped as much as 8 million barrels, according to data issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.

"China trade war and economic crisis in emerging markets, is bleeding into the oil market", Will Yun, a commodities analyst at Hyundai Futures Corp., said by phone. Earlier, private refining companies could only buy crude oil for exports of oil products, officials have said.

Last week, Saudi OPEC governor Adeeb Al-Aama reportedly said the oil market could shift into oversupply in the last quarter of the year and that OPEC may have to return to oil production cuts.

Last month, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said that Iraq alone could add 300,000 bpd of oil to global supply if it allows Kurdish oil to reach worldwide markets.

Oil was also being weighed down by signs of rising supply from top producers. Concerns about the gap in crude oil supply caused by US sanctions on Iran have fueled spike of crude oil prices in the past few months.

"What is happening today is a lie that USA policymakers are telling the people of the world and the Americans that Iran's oil supplies should be replaced by Saudi Arabia so that oil prices would not rise", he said.

Iran's First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri has said that Iran is prepared to frustrate the US November 4 sanctions on its crude exports.

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