Oil holds near $80 as Saudi Arabia plans output increase

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil hovered around $80 a barrel on Monday, lifted by a diplomatic crisis between Saudi Arabia and the West, just two weeks before U.S. sanctions potentially choke off Iranian crude supplies. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told Russia’s TASS news agency that his country had no intention of unleashing a 1973-style oil embargo on Western consumers, but rather was focused on raising output to compensate for supply losses elsewhere, such as Iran. Several U.S. lawmakers have suggested imposing sanctions on Saudi Arabia over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, while the kingdom, the world’s largest oil exporter, pledged to retaliate against any sanctions with “bigger measures”. Falih said Saudi Arabia would soon raise output to 11 million barrels per day (bpd) from the current 10.7 million. He added that Riyadh had capacity to increase output to 12 million bpd. “The international pressure on the Saudi leadership remains in place, as does the possibility of sanctions,” Commerzbank said in a daily note. Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose 16 cents to $79.94 a barrel by 1117 GMT, while U.S. crude futures CLc1 gained 10 cents to $69.22 a barrel. “Politics are coming into the picture and maybe this… continue reading

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