Oil prices rise ahead of OPEC’s June 22 meeting

USA crude inventories fell by three million barrels to 430.6 million barrels up to June 15, according to an American Petroleum Institute report on Tuesday.

Iran had been expected to oppose any rise in crude output, but it has now signaled it may support a small increase.

The oil market would normally hear a decision, and typically react, on the same day as the meeting of OPEC members, which is set for this Friday, "but this time could be different", said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group.

"In the long term, this will have a negative effect on the global economy even if, in the short term, it might be positive for other non-US producers", Rainer Seele, chief executive at Austria's oil company OMV, said in Vienna where OPEC officials and ministers and top oil industry executives attended a seminar this week.

Saudi Arabia urges OPEC to help consumers by boosting oil supply as opposition from arch-rival Iran shows signs of wavering.

Also supporting prices was a drop in Libyan supplies due to the collapse of an estimated 400,000-barrel storage tank.

But Iran has called on the group to resist pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump, who moved to reimpose sanctions on Tehran last month after announcing he would pull the United States out of Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers.

"Our customers have spoken loudly and we must listen to them", Falih said.

The intensive negotiations between ministers in Vienna this week are the culmination of a process that has whipsawed oil markets for weeks.

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Venezuela's production outlook remains uncertain, and recent outages in Libya may also weigh on decision-makers' minds.Wood Mackenzie think-thank said OPEC could increase output by a more dramatic 1 million b/d, adding a further 0.3 million b/d from Russian Federation to bring the total gain closer to 1.5 million b/d.

OPEC and its allies have since a year ago been participating in a pact to cut output by 1.8 million bpd.

"This shows that China is a significant outlet for United States crude exports and the early indications are that the exports would be much higher in Q2 2018 given the lower WTI-Brent differential which made the arbitrage to Asia look more attractive", Sivanandam noted.

A production increase on Friday would undo a cut agreed on in late 2016 that has since then helped push up the price of oil by nearly 50 percent.

The deal looked to be in line with many analysts' forecasts.

"That would be a good target to work with", Al-Falih said on the eve of an OPEC summit in Vienna, Austria.

The Friday morning meeting came after Zangeneh on Thursday abruptly walked out of a meeting chaired by Falih, saying that the discussions had not gone well and doubting whether OPEC could reach any consensus.

"This puts Saudi Arabia in a tough position, as unanimity is needed for any accord to be reached", it added.

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