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Oil Tumbles on Prospect Iranian Nuclear Deal May Be Wit...

Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Oil Tumbles on Prospect Iranian Nuclear Deal May Be Within Sight

Storage tanks at the Oiltanking Deutschland tank farm in Berlin, Germany, on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. Oiltanking GmbH Group confirmed that along with Mabanaft GmbH & Co. KG, its systems were affected by a cyberattack, but all its terminals in global markets continue to function safely, it said, without elaborating. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg
By Bloomberg
17 Feb 2022 0

Oil tumbled on signs that an Iranian nuclear deal may be imminent, which could pave the way for a resumption of official flows from the Persian Gulf producer and ease tightness in the global market.

 

West Texas Intermediate fell more than 2% after closing above $93 a barrel Wednesday. Iran’s top negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, tweeted that efforts to restore the deal are “closer than ever” to agreement, although the U.S. State Department was more circumspect. Tehran appears to be taking steps in Asia for its official return to the market, with officials from state-owned National Iranian Oil Co. meeting South Korean refiners to discuss potential supply.

Read also: Oil’s Spectacular Covid Crash Set World Up for $100 Crude

Russia has insisted that it’s serious about easing tensions over Ukraine, but the U.S. rejected that claim, saying Moscow is still building up troop levels near the border. An emergency summit of European leaders on the situation is set for later on Thursday. Moscow has repeatedly denied that it plans an invasion.

Crude rallied to the highest since 2014 this week as demand picked up and the Ukraine crisis added a risk premium. Should a deal with Iran be concluded, it could lead to a resumption of sanctions-free exports, augmenting global supplies. Still, obstacles to an agreement remain substantial, with major differences on what’s required to roll back Iranian nuclear advances.

“Positive developments in the U.S.-Iran nuclear negotiations are helping to calm oil prices,” Rystad Energy AS Senior Vice President Claudio Galimberti said in a note. “Although not a done deal yet, prices are sliding on news of progress and broad consensus in the talks as it could ultimately see up to 900,000 barrels a day of crude added to the market by December this year.”

The reintroduction of sanctions-free Iranian shipments, as well as clearing crude that Tehran has stockpiled, would cool a market that’s been transfixed by the possibility futures could hit $100 a barrel. Brent’s prompt spread — the difference between its two nearest contracts and one gauge of tightness — eased to $2.12 a barrel in backwardation from as much as $2.57 a day earlier.

Prices
  • WTI for March delivery lost 2.4% to $91.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 9:54 a.m. in Singapore.
  • Brent for April settlement shed 2.3% to $92.65 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.

There have been further signs this week that oil consumption has been outpacing supply. On Wednesday, data showed inventories at the key U.S. storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma, sank to the lowest since 2018. Dated Brent, the price of cargoes bought and sold in the North Sea, reached $100.80 a barrel for the first time since 2014.

Energy consumption is being fired up as economies power back from the impact of the pandemic. Europe is leaving anti-virus curbs behind, with Germany and Greece poised to become the latest in the region to unwind regulations.

Related coverage:
  • U.S. shale driller Pioneer Natural Resources Co. renewed a pledge to limit any production increases to no more than 5% this year.
  • California gasoline prices have never been higher, posing fresh challenges for U.S. President Joe Biden.
  • Some U.S. producers of gasoline that use Russian oil are looking for alternative supplies amid tensions in Eastern Europe.

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