By Henning Gloystein
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Thursday, lifted by looming U.S. sanctions against major crude exporter Iran.
Brent crude futures <LCOc1> were at $82.04 per barrel at 0104 GMT, up by 70 cents, or 0.9 percent from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures <CLc1> were at $72.35 a barrel, up 78 cents, or 1.1 percent from their last settlement.
Traders said oil markets were tightening ahead of Washington’s planned sanctions on Iran’s petroleum industry from Nov. 4.
At its 2018 peak, Iran exported around 3 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, equivalent to 3 percent of global consumption, and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has little spare capacity to make up for an expected shortfall in Iranian exports.
Reflecting expectations of lower supply from the Middle East, Oman crude futures <1OQc1> on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange touched their highest in four years on Wednesday, briefly jumping above $90 a barrel.
“Oil prices remain in the Bulls domain amid concern that U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude oil exports will result in much tighter physical market conditions once they take effect in November,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia/Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore.
“Markets could still be underestimating the supply crunch from Iran sanctions,” he added.
While global oil markets tighten, supply in the United States is ample, thanks to rising output.
U.S. crude production <C-OUT-T-EIA> hit a record 11.1 million bpd in the week ending Sept. 21, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
That’s an increase of almost a third since mid-2016.
Commercial crude stocks <C-STK-T-EIA> rose by 1.85 million barrels, to 395.99 million barrels, the EIA data showed.
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; editing by Richard Pullin)