Oil edges up on supply concerns


Also weighing on oil prices, USA drillers added two oil rigs in the week to December 1, bringing the total count up to 749, the highest since September, General Electric Co's Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday.

China, one of the world's largest oil consumers, on Tuesday added $60 billion of US products to its import tariff list.

While trade disputes and financial woes in some countries may affect crude demand, the IEA said supply risks are the more important issue. "When you have major producers facing supply challenges, it's of concern" for OPEC and consumers alike, he said.

While Iran's exports have moved in Trump's favor, the president faces the predicament of wanting oil prices to come down before US midterm elections on November 6.

Futures in NY closed 1.8 percent higher last week amid signs that looming US sanctions on Iran are whittling global supply levels.

For the time being, increases in production by Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation, a surge in US exports to 3 milllion bpd and a slight recovery in Libya have helped to soothe market jitters about supply, leading to prices falling for Brent crude from around $79 per barrel at the end of June to around $72 barrels in mid August.

Brent crude oil futures gained 25 cents to $78.34 per barrel as of 0727 GMT, reversing a 0.2 percent loss earlier in the session.

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Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed Saudi sources, that the kingdom was now comfortable with prices above $80 per barrel, at least for the short term.

Brent may fall more than $1 to $76.37 a barrel, while WTI crude prices may revisit their September 14 low of $67.94, he wrote.

OPEC members received approximately US$567 billion in net oil export revenues in 2017, up 29% from revenues in 2016, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Russia, the world's largest oil producer, and other producers in OPEC have kept in place a supply agreement to maintain prices while at the same time providing enough oil to the market.

"Trade tensions might escalate and lead to slower economic growth, and in turn lower oil demand, " IEA added.

"No country is allowed to take over the share of other members for production and exports of oil under any circumstance, and the Ministerial Conference has not issued any licence for such actions", Iran's oil ministry news agency SHANA quoted Kazem Gharibabadi, the permanent envoy to Vienna-based organizations, as saying.