Oil prices steady after pull-back, up on the week

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The crude oil imports from Iran is ready to decline further by almost half from the starting of this year as India is negotiating with the United States to win waivers on export sanctions Washington plans to reimpose on Iran.

It's uncertain whether Saudi Arabia and other producers will fill any shortfall, or how far they're able to do so, the agency said.

If those estimates are right, it would mark the first time since 1973 that the USA has led the world in output, according to government figures. The global benchmark fell 2 percent on Thursday after rising on Wednesday to its highest since May 22 at $80.13.

The Indian government, already facing a backlash over a falling rupee and record high fuel prices, does not want to halt the oil imports from Iran as the Islamic republic offers a discount on oil sales to India.

The EIA expects that US crude oil production, most of it light sweet crude, will continue to exceed Russian and Saudi Arabian crude oil production for the remaining months of 2018 and through 2019. The first row of new sanctions against Iran were put in place in August, while more hard-hitting sanctions against the country's energy sector will take effect on November 4.

While oil prices strengthened in recent weeks on the lower supply outlook out of Iran, investors should keep in mind that OPEC can step in at anytime to fill in the gap.

Drillers added two oil rigs in the week to December 1, bringing the total count up to 749, the highest since September, General Electric Co's Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.

"The Iran story is the dominant factor for prices".

In theory Saudi Arabia could immediately raise output to 11.5 million barrels a day-that's what Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg in April 2016.

"In the meantime, traders have their hopes up that firmer details on production from OPEC and its allies will come out of the meeting among global producers".

The U.S. led the world in oil production for much of the last century until the Soviet Union and later Saudi Arabia passed it during the 1970s. Despite the rise, oils prices fell again on Thursday.

"Trump's efforts to cut Iran's access to the global crude market has prompted Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia to take the market hostage", he said.

Iran's oil exports started to drop noticeably in August, and many analysts now expect the sanctions to remove more than 1 million bpd of Iranian oil from the market.

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