Oil gains on OPEC report; United States crude discount to Brent deepens


"There is also a risk of $100/bbl, as our forward balances embed OPEC "tapering" and no major drop in Iranian crude exports", Francisco Blanch, commodity and derivative strategist at the bank said in a report published Wednesday.

Oil markets have so far reacted to President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal without either enthusiasm or panic - without even much apparent interest.

"Looking into the next 18 months, we expect global oil supply to demand balances to tighten driven by the ongoing collapse in Venezuelan output".

Last week's speculative buying was initiated by President Trump's decision on Tuesday to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal.

Crude prices remained just below multi-year highs, with Brent on track for a weekly 2.8 percent gain and US crude a 1.2 percent weekly rise.

On the bullish side of the coin, the US plans to re-impose sanctions against Iran, which produces around 4 percent of global oil supplies.

Last week, July WTI crude oil settled at $70.68, up $1.10 or +1.58% and July Brent crude oil finished at $77.12, up $2.25 or +3.01%.

Many analysts expect oil prices to rise significantly, as the market adjusts to looming USA sanctions and Iran's exports sink amid strong demand.

In another sign global supplies could rise further, data in the afternoon showed US crude producers added 10 rigs in the latest week.

"Iran's exports of oil to Asia and Europe will nearly certainly decline later this year and into 2019 as some nations seek alternatives in order to avoid trouble with Washington and as sanctions start to bite", said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta.

All key crude oil futures contracts saw traded volumes jump as speculators took on new positions in the hope of profiting from rising prices while refiners hedged to protect themselves from higher feedstock oil prices.

The deal is set to expire at the end of 2018, but the Bank of America analysts said that OPEC and Russian Federation are likely to continue working together to prevent prices from falling.

OPEC sources said Thursday it's way too early to decide whether to pump more oil to offset an expected drop in supply from Iran after the new USA sanctions are in place, Kallanish Energy learns.

Iran, which pumps about 4 percent of the world's oil, exports about 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) to Europe and around 1.8 million bpd to Asia.