Oil prices rose slightly yesterday on signs of falling Iran oil exports ahead of USA sanctions against Tehran in November, while geopolitical tensions remain over a missing Saudi journalist.
After recording modest recovery gains in the past three trading days, crude oil lost its traction on Wednesday with the barrel of West Texas Intermediate falling below the critical $70 mark to settle 3% lower at $69.75.
"The oil price pain being now felt would have been much worse if we had believed people who 4-5 years ago said that oil demand had peaked and would decline", Mr. Al-Falih added.
US Senator Lindsey Graham accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of ordering the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and said the prince was jeopardising relations with the United States.
Western pressure mounted on Riyadh to provide answers, but comments by President Donald Trump suggested the White House may not take additional action against the Saudis, particularly after Saudi Arabia said it will conduct an investigation.
Crude bumped higher this year as uncertainties persisted over whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners can offset potential supply losses from USA sanctions on Iran that kick in early next month.
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South Korean buyers, which are among major Asian buyers of Iran's crude oil, suspended Iranian oil loading from July due to the uncertainty of getting a waiver from the United States government.
He added that altogether, "the market is spent" and "we're going into a deficit situation where spare capacity is low"; he concluded that oil prices will "be above $90" if any sizeable outages occur in the near future.
Saudi Arabia denies that it had any role in Khashoggi's disappearance.
Reliance imported 2 million barrels of Iranian oil in September, ship tracking data obtained from sources showed.
IHS Markit vice chairman Daniel Yergin, who was present along with Pradhan while addressing reporters, said oil markets have a sentiment problem and not a supply issue. On Tuesday, crude oil futures ended up $0.14, or 0.2%, at $71.92 a barrel. Support is being fueled by concerns over a supply shortage.
"When oil companies enter into annual term contracts for buying crude oil, there are two components mentioned - firm supplies and optional supplies".
In May, U.S. President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the 2015 global deal on Tehran's nuclear program and vowed to restore sanctions on Iran's oil exports on November 4. The simmering diplomatic dispute occurred against the backdrop of US sanctions on Iran that have hobbled exports by the Islamic Republic.