LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Thursday, extending gains on growing evidence of serious disruptions to crude supply from Iran and Venezuela and after a fall in U.S. crude inventories. Benchmark Brent crude oil LCOc1 was up 30 cents a barrel at $77.44 by 0745 GMT. U.S. light crude CLc1 was 30 cents higher at $69.81. Brent has risen by almost 10 percent over the last two weeks on widespread perceptions that the global oil market is tightening and may run short in the next few months as U.S. sanctions restrict crude exports from Iran. “Sanctions against Iran are beginning to impact oil supply, lifting crude prices,” said Alfonso Esparza, analyst at futures brokerage OANDA. Iranian crude exports will likely drop to just over 2 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, versus a peak of 3.1 million bpd in April, as importers bow to American pressure to cut orders. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Iran is the third-biggest producer, will discuss in December whether it can compensate for a sudden drop in Iranian supply after sanctions start in November, the head of Iraq’s state oil marketer SOMO, Alaa al-Yasiri, said on Wednesday. Crude exports… continue reading
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