Uncertainty Over Lost Production from Iran Sanctions Still Driving Upside Momentum

A partially constructed gas refinery at the South Pars gas field is seen on the northern coast of Persian Gulf in Asalouyeh Iran

OPEC and other oil producers are considering raising output by 500,000 bpd to counter falling supply from Iran.

But he did concede that Seoul hasn't bought any Iranian oil "for three continuous months". 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.

It's unclear whether that will be enough for Trump.

On the news, Brent Crude rose 2.6% to $80.1 a barrel, the highest level since November 2014, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) jumped 2.1% to $72.3 a barrel. The kingdom had "limited spare capacity" to compensate for the loss of Iranian supplies, he said.

Al-Falih added that Saudi Arabia, the cartel's largest producer, still expects to pump more crude in September and increase output again in October.

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The Iranian minister has said an agreement reached in 2016 between OPEC member states and allied producers to cut output was "in tatters".

"While Citi is pricing in Brent (ICE) crude at around $80 for the quarter ahead, balances are precarious and the lack of spare capacity could see crude pricing well above $90 or even $100 should all of the potential risk in the market materialize", analysts including Ed Morse said in the note. But the American Petroleum Institute points out that during that time, exports fell 1.3 million barrels per day.

While viewing high demand as healthy, the organisation noted that the trend was fuelled by developing countries undergoing major demographic and general economic expansion.

Nearly 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude could be taken out of the market as a result of the United States sanctions against Iran by the end of the fourth quarter this year, said Daniel Jaeggi, president of commodity merchant Mercuria Energy Trading, making a crude price spike to US$100 a barrel possible. "We have topped our storage to the maximum because the demand hasn't materialized", he said. Rapid growth in US production means that oil stockpiles could expand again next year, but it's too early to say whether the production limits agreed in 2016 would need to remain in place, he said. Furthermore, it leaves the market extremely vulnerable to supply disruptions.

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.

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