Oil prices drop as supplies increase

Oil prices drop as supplies increase

US crude output has risen nearly 30 percent in the last two years to a record high of 10.9 million barrels per day.

Brent crude futures, the worldwide benchmark for oil prices, were at $76.46 per barrel at 0046 GMT, down 28 cents, or 0.4 per cent, from their last close.

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"The Trump administration is trying to intervene in the affairs of a sovereign organization", Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, the most senior Iranian official attending OPEC meetings after the oil minister, said in an interview on Wednesday.

Domestic production rose to 10.9 million barrels per day up from 10.8 million bpd in the week prior, EIA said. The country boosted production after the USA lifted sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program in 2016, but analysts expect output to fall when the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the deal takes full effect later this year.

"Looks like OPEC is at it again", Trump said in an April 20 tweet.

The president has been vocal about his dissatisfaction with oil prices in the past.

"Prices will be above $150 in less than two years", he tweeted on Wednesday.

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Saudi Arabia has floated several plans to fellow OPEC members as the kingdom seeks consensus before the meeting in Vienna next week.

"To make up for the losses, we estimate that Middle East OPEC countries could increase production in fairly short order by about 1.1 mb/d and there could be more output from Russian Federation on top of the increase already built into our 2019 non-OPEC supply numbers", the IEA said.

"Even if the Iran/Venezuela supply gap is plugged, the market will be finely balanced next year, and vulnerable to prices rising higher in the event of further disruption", the report said.

Prior to Trump's April tweet, the price of oil had soared from $50 a barrel last fall to over $70. The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill Wednesday to subject OPEC to USA antitrust law by removing state immunity shields. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said shielding a cartel like OPEC "makes a mockery of US antitrust law, threatens the American economy and has the potential to harm our national security".

The US move has pressured European and Asian clients to stop importing Iranian oil or doing business with the country.

In the United States, gasoline pump prices nationwide have risen to near $3 a gallon during the peak summer travel season, still less than the $4 a gallon during the 2007-2009 Great Recession. "Adjusted for inflation, these prices are not out of line with where we've seen oil prices for the last decade or two". "The real catalyst for the recent rise in prices is the sanctions on Iran".

The measure would have to pass the full House and the US Senate before Trump could sign it into law.

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