Oil gains while US crude's discount to Brent deepens

OPEC Adds US Exit From Iran Nuclear Deal To 'Disruptive Concerns'

A high-profile Iranian official has pointed out that the potential US sanctions that US President Donald Trump touched upon last week have not so far affected the flow of oil supplies to worldwide markets, despite earlier predictions. The immediate aftermath has seen tensions between Israel and Iran rise in Syria, already leading to one military clash.

Oil prices rose to multiyear highs on Tuesday, bolstered by signs that major oil producers are still committed to reducing supply and the rising specter of USA sanctions against Iran.

"In 2012 the reduction in Iranian crude production and exports was around 1 million bpd", Wittner said.

Meanwhile, output from third-largest Opec producer Iran is uncertain on renewed USA sanctions. While those nations have vowed to stand by the agreement, there is little likeliness that U.S. allies would side with Iran in this issue. This is why the sanctions against Iran is going to impact Brent much more than it is going to impact WTI crude oil.

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Bank of America Merrill Lynch says Brent crude oil prices could reach $90 to $100 a barrel next year or maybe sooner.

"The commitment of Saudi Arabia and the rest of Opec to the production cuts is a major factor in supporting the price at the moment, as well as the possibility of reduced exports from Iran due to sanctions", said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Rivkin Securities.

At the same time, China's domestic crude oil production has been languishing near June 2011 lows in the first quarter this year, prompting higher imports to meet growing demand.

According to a report from OPEC, the global oil glut has been virtually eliminated.

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China is crucial to global oil demand growth, and if it keeps its current growth pace, it would support the strong demand growth that analysts expect.

Markets were also held in check by a rise in USA drilling for new oil production.

Final data for the country's April crude imports data will be released by state-run Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) later this month. "Saudi Arabia appears to be focusing more on pushing up crude higher rather than restoring the balance in oil's supply and demand, and that is underpinning prices".

Further US drilling for new outputs put a lid on prices, with US drillers establishing 10 oil rigs in the week to May 11, raising the total count to 844, the highest level since March 2015.

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