Iran criticizes reported USA request for Saudi oil production hike

  • Iran criticizes reported USA request for Saudi oil production hike

Iran criticizes reported USA request for Saudi oil production hike

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 38 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $65.57 a barrel.

Brent crude futures, the global benchmark for oil prices, were at $76.79 per barrel at 0654 GMT, down 53 cents, or 0.7 percent, from their last close.U.S. For the week, Brent was set to fall 0.2 percent, while USA crude was little changed.

"Oil prices are being clobbered by a surprise build to crude stocks as total imports jumped higher, blunting the impact of higher refinery runs", said Matthew Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData in Louisville, Kentucky.

JP Morgan cut its 2018 crude forecast for WTI by $3 to $62.20 a barrel, traders said.

Venezuela's Oil Ministry didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

The futures contracts dipped after the forecast was issued, and then pared losses.

Oil prices are still in washout mode after a report that the Trump Administration asked OPEC to please raise oil output by 1 million barrels a day, Bloomberg News reported.

Industry data from the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday that USA crude inventories fell by 2 million barrels last week, compared with analysts' expectations for a draw of 1.8 million barrels.

The reelection of the country's far-left president, Nicolás Maduro, on May 20-in a race deemed illegitimate by the opposition and many foreign governments-prompted the U.S.to broaden a ban on Americans buying Venezuelan debt.

One of the key features of oil markets recently has been the widening discount of US WTI crude versus Brent CL-LCO1=R , which has nearly quadrupled since February to $11.40 per barrel, its steepest discount since 2015.

Despite Friday's decline, Brent remains more than 15 percent above its level at the start of the year. Its output has been hampered by inadequate investment, mismanagement and USA sanctions.

Prices were pushed up by supply trouble in Venezuela, where state-owned oil firm PDVSA is struggling to clear a backlog of around 24 million barrels of crude waiting to be shipped to customers.

A flag with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) logo is seen during a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC producing countries in Vienna, Austria September 22, 2017.

OPEC and Russian Federation meet on June 22/23 to discuss production policy.

Before it slapped penalties on Iran, the US unofficially asked Saudi Arabia and other OPEC producers to increase oil production to try to curb price increases, Reuters reported.

"No one in OPEC will act against two of its founder members", he said.

"I think it is going to be very choppy", he said.