Oil prices rise as focus returns to supply concerns

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Oil rose on Friday, clawing back some territory after prices fell by the most in a month in the previous session, as the focus returned to supply concerns ahead of a November deadline for USA sanctions on Iranian crude.

Despite the supply-side risks posed by Venezuela and Iran, however, spare capacity in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, coupled with potential output recovery in Libya and Nigeria, could help balance the market.

A long-time adviser at Saudi Arabia's Energy Ministry also said last month that current US sanctions on Iran were unlikely to stop Iranian oil exports completely.

At 1055 GMT, the November ICE Brent crude futures contract was up 13 cents from Thursday's settle at $78.32/b, while the NYMEX October light sweet crude contract was up 26 cents at $68.85/b.

US sanctions on Iran snapped back on August 6, a move after USA withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal on May 8. Washington is pushing allies to cut imports of Iranian oil to zero and will introduce a new round of sanctions on Iranian oil sales on 5 November.

Iran, a founding member of the cartel, had been against the move which came as the country faces renewed U.S. sanctions after Washington's decision to leave the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

However, prices were able to rebound into the close on Friday after a report said Secretary of State Michael Pompeo was going to give a press conference on new sanctions on Iran.

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The sanctions cover Iran's purchases of dollars, its trade in gold and precious metals, and its automotive sector.

Under the deal, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

India has cleared that it does not recognize the sanctions by the U.S. on Iran but it is negotiating with the United States to win a waiver in order to protect itself from the wider exposure to US financial system.

While oil prices strengthened in recent weeks on the lower supply outlook out of Iran, investors should keep in mind that OPEC can step in at anytime to fill in the gap.

Back in August, Kazempour Ardebili said the United States president has apparently been duped by Saudi Arabia into believing that the kingdom can replace Iranian barrels cut from the market.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Kazempour Ardebili suggested that a deal reached between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in 2017 over production ceilings had already lost effect. It did not change its forecast that worldwide demand will rise 1.4 million barrels a day this year and 1.5 million a day in 2019.

After the June meetings between OPEC and its friends there was a flurry of talk about restarting production at the fields in the Neutral Zone, shared between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, but there has been little activity on the ground.

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