OPEC, Analysts See Slowing Demand and Cooling U.S. Production Ahead

Oil prices climb as Iran sanctions loom

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $69.81 per barrel at 0047 GMT, up 56 cents, or 0.8 percent, from their last settlement.

Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil, has been trading between $70 and $80 since April, only briefly rising above $80 in May and this week.

USA light crude fell $1.15 to a low of $69.22 a barrel and was last at $69.50, down 87 cents.

Crude inventories fell 5.3 million barrels in the week to September 7 to 396.2 million barrels, the lowest level since February 2015, and about 3 percent below the five-year average for this time of year, the EIA said.

The latest forecast by IEA is that production by non-OPEC members will grow by over 2 million barrels daily during 2018 and by 1.8 million bpd during 2019, due to the non-stop growth in record output by the U.S.

Some analysts predict prices could exceed $100 per barrel, from the current level of around $70.

USA light crude pushed over $70 due to falling US crude inventories and production levels.

Overall India's monthly oil imports in August rose by 3.1 per cent to about 4.7 million barrels, while they were up 15.8 per cent from a year earlier, the data showed.

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Output from OPEC member Iran in August hit its lowest level since July 2016, the IEA said, "as more buyers distanced themselves from Tehran ahead of looming U.S. sanctions", the report said.

Oil prices rose on Wednesday following a report of declines in USA crude inventories and as looming sanctions against Iran raised expectations of tightening supply, while top producer Russian Federation warned of a fragile global crude market.

Nigerian crude oil differentials were largely unchanged yesterday, after a series of offers from Shell for October-loading cargoes drew no buyers, and even BP, which has been an active bidder this week, showed unwillingness to pay higher prices.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Wednesday reduced its forecast for 2019 global oil demand growth, pointing to economic risks.

The EIA now predicts ethanol production will average 1.05 million barrels per day this year, falling to 1.03 million barrels per day next year.

"We underestimated the degree to which New Delhi and Beijing would concede to Washington's demands", it said in a briefing note.

He also warned of the impact of United States sanctions against Iran: "This is a huge uncertainty on the market - how countries, which buy nearly 2 million barrels per day of Iranian oil, will act".

"But we are clear that these are commercial decisions-dependent on how competitively oil is priced and on the requirements of our refineries", said the official.

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