United States issues warning to Russian Federation about helping Iran escape upcoming oil sanctions

Brent oil holds near $80 as Saudi Arabia plans output increase

Brent oil rises back above $80 as Iran sanctions loom

Top crude oil exporter Saudi Arabia has pledged to keep markets supplied despite its increasing isolation over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $69.60 a barrel, up 48 cents, or 0.7 percent.

Oil prices dipped on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia pledged to play a "responsible role" in energy markets, although sentiment remained nervous in the run-up to US sanctions against Iran's crude exports that start next month.

And those interests are what many countries are considering as they look at the role the Saudi Arabian government may have played in the killing of one of its most prominent critics, journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"For decades we used our oil policy as a responsible economic tool and isolated it from politics", Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said in an interview with Russia's TASS news agency published on Monday.

US sanctions on Iranian oil begin on November 4 and Washington has said it wants to stop all of Tehran's fuel exports, but other oil producers are pumping more to fill any supply gaps.

Despite Saudi Arabia's non-specific promise to produce responsibly, in truth, OPEC has so far not made good on its June promise to increase production by 1 million bpd.

Despite this, Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta, said "markets are. tired of the impact of US sanctions on Iran's oil sector", estimating the sanctions "could impact up to 1.5 million barrels per day of supply".

An internal document reviewed by Reuters suggested OPEC is struggling to add barrels as an increase in Saudi supply was offset by declines elsewhere, including Iran and Venezuela.

The Saudis have deep pockets, thanks to the strong global oil price, and they are courted by many around the world for their wealth.

The outlook for demand next year, meanwhile, is deteriorating.

Some relief may come from North America, where United States drillers added four oil rigs in the week to October 19, bringing the total count to 873, Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday, raising the rig count to the highest level since March 2015.

The ongoing trade dispute between China and the United States will nearly certainly erode demand, analysts say.

US crude oil production has climbed by nearly a third since mid-2016 to around 11 million barrels per day, and rising drilling activity points to further increases.

Oil demand to reach 120mln b/d in 30 years.

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