Oil prices rise on concerns over supply disruptions

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Surging US production, which hit 10.59 million bpd last week, has encouraged record-high US exports. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading down 0.63% at $67.98 a barrel.

Crude oil futures were slightly higher Thursday despite an unexpected rise in USA inventories.

United States now exports more crude oil than Africa's top oil producer, Nigeria, after excessively reducing its imports of crude oil from Nigeria a few years ago.

In addition to fundamentals, there has been a shift in geopolitical sentiment after France's president Emmanuel Macron yesterday called for a new Iran deal to avoid the imposition of US sanctions against Tehran that the latter warned will lead to serious consequences, without going into detail.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 424 points, or 1.74 percent, while the S&P 500 lost 1.34 percent and the Nasdaq dropped 1.68 percent. Within 30 minutes of opening, the Dow was down 186.52, the S&P declined 18.80 and NASDAQ was 51.11 lower.

"But not only is there the possibility of sanctions on Iran, there's also the possibility of Venezuelan and Russian sanctions". A slight suggestion that President Trump might accept a revised deal between the six Western powers who signed the original nuclear deal with Iran on Tuesday did halt the price rise, but it was temporary.

Figures from Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) show Iran produces 3.8 million barrels of oil per day, deeming it the third largest producer of the 14 member organisation after Saudi Arabia and Iraq. That's an increase of more than a quarter since mid-2016.

Dutch bank ING said "the wide discount for WTI to Brent saw exports rising 582,000 bpd week-on-week to a record high of 2.33 million bpd". On an adjusted basis, the after-tax net loss was $72 million.

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OPEC and its partners made a decision to extend its production cuts till the end of 2018 in Vienna on November 30, as the oil cartel and its allies step up their attempt to end a three-year supply glut that has savaged crude prices and the global energy industry.

Additionally, traders expect a report on Friday by energy services firm Baker Hughes to show that US producers increased the rig count.

Over the past four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied averaged 9.4 million barrels per day, up 1.3 percent from the same period a year ago.

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