A ministerial committee of some Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries members and allies, including Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia, is due to meet on Sunday in Abu Dhabi to discuss the market and outlook for 2019. "I am not at the liberty to give you details about the quantum of crude oil that we will continue to import [from Iran]", said the spokesperson.
WTI crude CLc1 futures fell 48 cents to $60.19 a barrel, a 0.8 percent loss by 11:24 EST (1624 GMT), after dropping under $60 a barrel to its lowest in eight months. That supply overhang trumped indications OPEC may discuss production cuts as soon as this weekend. The group led by Saudi Arabia will gather in Abu Dhabi this weekend as they face a fresh surge of U.S. shale oil threatening to unleash a new surplus in 2019.
Brent futures for January settlement lost 16 cents to US$70.49 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. WTI settled at US$76.41 a barrel on October 3.
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Oil peaked in early October on concerns that USA sanctions on Iran that came into force this week would drain global crude inventories and bring shortages in some regions. Brent is set for a 2.9 percent drop for the week, its fifth straight week of declines.
According to Refinitiv Eikon data, Iranian crude exports have fallen to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) so far in November, down from nearly 2 million bpd in October and around 3 million bpd in mid-2018.
Any return to limiting supply would follow a June decision by the OPEC-led group to relax output curbs in place since 2017, after pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to cool prices and make up for losses from Iran.
These sanctions, however, will unlikely cut as much oil out of the market as initially expected as Washington has granted exemptions to Iran's biggest buyers which will allow them to continue buying limited amounts of crude for at least another six months.
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To put that in context, the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018 puts global daily crude production at 92.6 million barrels per day for previous year, so the increase is meaningful.
Further out, supplies at Cushing increased by 2.419M barrels, adding to last week's 1.878M barrels build.
But a cascade of geopolitical events has blown up the oil world's harmony that sends 100 million barrels a day from the world's producers to thirsty consumers at a price that is satisfactory to both sides.
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