Brent futures dropped in anticipation of the commencement of oil shipments in Iran on 20 January following a deal over the country’s nuclear programme.

According to Reuters, Brent crude dropped by $0.03 to $106.72 a barrel, while US crude gained $0.09 to $91.89 a barrel.

Brent prices started declining after the Iranian Foreign Ministry met with the European Union (EU) to discuss an oil deal between Iran and six major powers.

Brent prices were also under pressure with an increase in Libyan output and the pending restart of the key Buzzard oilfield in the North Sea.

Libya’s production increased to 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 650,000 bpd, with output at the El Sharara field back up to 300,000 bpd.

The North Sea’s Buzzard oilfield, which reported fresh production problems last week, is expected to return to normal output in the coming days.

Oil futures were also weighed by declines in gasoline futures and equities, as last week’s much-weaker-than-expected US jobs data blighted hopes of economic recovery in the world’s largest oil consumer.

US crude also dropped in the early session with severe winter weather last week curbing demand for jet fuel and gasoline.

Image: Western countries and Iran are likely to start final nuclear talks in February. Photo: courtesy of renjith krishnan.