Oil prices have soared on account of more evidence that Iranian crude exports are declining ahead of the US sanctions targeting the Middle Eastern country’s petroleum industry.
Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, jumped 55 cents to trade at $84.46 per barrel, while US light crude rose 45 cents to stand at $74.74, Reuters reported.
Last week, Brent prices reached $86.74 a barrel, their highest levels since November 2014.
Based on Refinitiv Eikon’s tanker data, Iranian crude exports declined further last week to 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) as countries and businesses are looking for alternatives in the wake of the looming US sanctions.
Besides, an unnamed industry source told the news agency that October shipments were less than one million bpd, which is far below the level of 2.5 million bpd recorded in April this year before the US administration pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, the de-facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), revealed plans last week to raise crude production next month to 10.7 million bpd.
Reuters quoted JP Morgan analysts as saying: “Iranian barrels are declining fast, and Saudi Arabia’s promise to balance will face a reality check in a month’s time.”
Oil prices also increased as companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico evacuated oil platforms in preparation for Hurricane Michael.
It is estimated that companies, including BP, Exxon Mobil, shut down almost 20% of oil production in the region.
BP stated that it is evacuating personnel and shutting down production at its Atlantis, Mad Dog, Na Kika and Thunder Horse oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.