An announcement from Washington due later on Monday will detail renewed US sanctions against OPEC's 3 largest producer Iran, set to be reinstated on Tuesday.
Outside the United States, top crude exporter Saudi Arabia pumped about 10.29-million barrels a day of crude in July, two Opec sources said on Friday, down about 200,000 barrels a day from a month earlier.
Russian Federation and OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have increased production to help to compensate for an anticipated shortfall in Iranian crude supplies once planned USA sanctions take effect in November. That's helped limit a rally in global benchmark Brent crude, which is trading near $73 a barrel after falling 6.5 percent last month.
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U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 19 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $68.68 barrel.
So-called "snapback" sanctions are due to be reinstated at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, according to a U.S. Treasury official.
"US oil exports are still relatively small, but China had quickly emerged as the second largest destination for United States oil exports after Canada", Ralph Leszczynski, Banchero Costa's head of research in Singapore tells TradeWinds. The kingdom told the cartel it produced 10.489 million in June.
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Bloomberg said the kingdom's stored crude has been falling for nearly three years and continued to drop as Riyadh cut production last year. "There's clearly room for them to keep rising and good reason too", said Bloomberg.
However purchases from Iran could slow from now on; last month, state-run Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) was forced to cancel an Iranian oil shipment as insurers were not willing to provide cover for its two refineries for processing Iranian oil, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Saudi Arabia temporarily suspended oil shipments there on July 26 after attacks on two big oil tankers by Houthis.
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Fears that Chinese demand could taper fuelled the pullback on Friday after state oil major Sinopec cut its purchases of USA crude.
Whilst exports of crude from the USA to China have grown exponentially in recent years, Leszczynski says the volumes are still pretty small from China's point of view. Yet it was not immediately clear how long the suspension of US oil imports would last.
According to trade flow data by Thomson Reuters Eikon, Chinese imports of US crude oil averaged 334,880 bpd between January and August this year.
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Fears that Chinese demand could taper fueled the pullback on Friday after state oil major Sinopec cut its purchases of USA crude. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of an global nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran has angered Tehran.
The official confirmed that during July delegations would be dispatched to Beijing and Delhi to press home the case, having already visited the capitals of other major Iranian oil importers.