Oil races to $80 as US drilling rises

Crude oil prices have increased more than 10% over the past month after President Donald Trump signaled it is likely the USA will withdraw from a 2015 worldwide agreement with Iran that eased sanctions in return for curbs to the country's nuclear program, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Brent crude futures, the global benchmark for oil prices, were at $78.21 per barrel at 0639 GMT, virtually unchanged from their last close and not far off a three-and-a-half year high of $78.53 a barrel reached the previous session. By 8am GMT, Brent was up 20c at $78.43. However, the cartel also revised higher the non-OPEC supply forecast by 10,000 barrels per day, which does not come as a surprise given the rising United States oil output. Global markets have tightened as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, has been withholding supplies since 2017 in order to push up oil prices.

World oil prices have surged by more than 70% over the past year as demand has risen sharply but production has been restricted by oil cartel Opec, led by Saudi Arabia, and other key producers, including Russian Federation.

Iran produces roughly 4% of the world's oil, with the looming prospect of American sanctions set to cut off some of that supply.

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The cartel revised higher its forecast for global oil demand growth this year by 25,000 barrels per day - a bullish development for oil markets.

In China, the world's biggest oil importer, refinery runs rose almost 12 percent in April compared with the same month a year ago, to around 12.06 million barrels per day, marking the second-highest level on record on a daily basis, data showed on Tuesday.

The price of world benchmark Brent crude has risen over the past 28 months, from roughly $26 a barrel in early 2016, to approximately $77/Bbl Monday, as the balance between supply and demand continues to tighten, Kallanish Energy understands.

The Permian basin in Texas, the biggest US oil patch, is expected to see output climb 78,000 bpd to a fresh record of 3.28 million bpd.

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