USA considers sanction waivers on countries reducing imports of Iranian oil

Official says S Arabia unable to replace Iran’s oil

Worldwide benchmark Brent crude oil futures were at $83.25 per barrel at 0115 GMT, down 91 cents, or 1.1 percent, from their last close.

India is considered one of the countries with the highest quantity of crude oil imported from Iran, and the United States prohibition announced by the U.S. would have a profound effect on India.

India, however, wants to keep importing oil from Iran, because Tehran offers discounts and incentives for them at a time when the Indian government is struggling with higher oil prices and a weakening local currency.

"S&P Global Platts sees prices strengthening "a little" toward the end of the year", said Chris Midgely, the company's global director of analytics, at the S&P Global Platts Analytics annual summit.

Crude futures rose to a four-year high this past week as the market prepares for the return of U.S. sanctions on Iran, the world's seventh largest producer of oil and a significant military power in the Strait of Hormuz, through which a third of the world's oil supply passes each day.

Around 10 million barrels of oil was imported from Iran by Indian refiners, though the shipments in November are expected to be lower.

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For weeks, crude oil has been underpinned and driven higher by USA sanctions set to target Iran's crude oil exports during the first week in November, and the Trump administration has been leaning on governments and global companies to cut their imports to zero. The US's latest moves were triggered by the ICJ's ruling on October 3 that the former must ensure that its sanctions on Iran did not affect the West Asian nation's humanitarian aid or civil aviation safety, CNBC reported. The bulk of spare capacity is held by Saudi Arabia.

In its submission to the court, Iran argued that the United States had violated both the terms of a 1955 bilateral friendship treaty, the Treaty of Amity, and a core provision of worldwide law which protected the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.

Some energy market analysts expect around 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) to disappear once USA sanctions against Iran come into force, while others have warned as much as 2 million bpd could come offline over the coming months.

Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia are pumping an extra one million barrels a day of oil and could do even more. Innes warned that limited spare production to deal with further supply disruptions meant "the capacity is quickly declining due to Asia's insatiable demand".

In other news, the us oil drilling rig count fell for a third consecutive week, as rising costs and pipeline bottlenecks have hindered new drilling since June.

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