Oil prices steady as concerns about producer output outweigh United States stockpile gain

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In the previous session, Brent rose 1.3 percent on a media report that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, was comfortable with prices above $80, indicating the producer would not try to increase output to drive prices lower.

As if to support Barkindo's plea, if only obliquely, Alexander Novak, energy minister for Russian Federation, stated on Monday that "I think we have the possibility to discuss any possible scenarios"- referring to the prospect of a deal between OPEC and other producers (a group known as OPEC+) being formalized and increasing output from levels agreed in June in order to ward off undue market tightening.

The OPEC Chief did not specify how crude producers would compensate for declining exports from Iran, with new USA sanctions due to hit the Islamic republic's oil industry on November the 4th.

Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak
Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak

Stockpiles of distillate fuels, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 1.5 million barrels, the API data showed, compared with expectations for a 651,000-barrel gain. OPEC sources have told Reuters no immediate action was planned and producers would discuss how to share a previously agreed output increase.

The warning came from the group's top official as looming unilateral US sanctions on oil sales by Iran, OPEC's third-biggest supplier, are scheduled to take effect on November 4.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said an oil price between $70 and $80 was temporary and sanctions-driven, adding that the long-term price would stand around $50/Bbl.

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Futures in NY climbed 1.4 per cent on Tuesday.

"We're seeing spare capacity globally heading toward critical levels as sanctions against Iran start biting", said Bart Melek, head of global strategy at TD Securities. Still, concerns remain that supplies could tighten as a November deadline for American sanctions on Iranian oil approaches.

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Oil markets fell on Tuesday as the latest escalation in the China-US trade war clouded the outlook for crude demand from the two countries, which are the world's top two oil consumers.

China, one of the world's largest oil consumers, on Tuesday added $60 billion of US products to its import tariff list. That follows an announcement from the USA that it will impose a 10 per cent tariff on about $200 billion in Chinese goods next week.

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