Crude Oil Gaps Higher After OPEC Cools Off Production Hikes

Brent crude hit its highest since May at $80.47 per barrel, up $1.63 or more than 2 per cent, before easing back slightly to around $80.40 by 0730 GMT. per cent light crude was $1.18 higher at $71.96.

Brent crude climbed above US$80 a barrel to its highest level since November 2014 and West Texas Intermediate has been trading more than two per cent higher Monday after OPEC and its allies signaled less urgency to boost output, despite USA pressure to temper prices.

OPEC's reticence, combined with signs of accelerating supply losses from Iran, created a bullish mood the the annual gathering of the Asian oil industry, traders, refiners and bankers in Singapore on Monday.

Kazempour Ardebili said the unfavorable conditions for the implementation of US oil sanctions against Iran could eventually forced US President Trump to show a certain level of flexibility. Bank of America Merrill Lynch joined JPMorgan Chase & Co.in anticipating higher prices down the line - the former expects crude to reach US$95 a barrel in the first half of next year.

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.

"The market is well-supplied", Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said after a meeting of OPEC and its allies over the weekend.

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"Decisions can only be made at OPEC meetings in the presence of all OPEC members and by consensus of members", he noted. He sees $90 oil by Christmas and $100 in early 2019.

He said on Twitter "they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices".

"OPEC is one of the third world's biggest accomplishments in my view, not just in terms of oil producers, but it's an organization that can be effective in the world's economy and it's a good, strong foundation", he underlined. "The reason Saudi Arabia didn't increase more is because all of our customers are receiving all of the barrels they want".

Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran's ambassador to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said none of the current major producers including Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation had the technical capability to fill the gap that would be created as a result of a potential halt in Iran's oil exports.

Also Sunday, OPEC released its World Oil Outlook 2040 report.

On Monday morning, Brent crude, the main European futures contract, rose above $80 USA a barrel to $80.43 U.S. at mid-morning. That suggests OPEC's power to influence the market will be tempered by USA production for about another decade.

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