Iran refutes Saudi claim that can meet post-sanctions oil demand

A USA government official confirmed late Monday the administration is engaged in a process to selectively grant waivers to certain countries still importing Iranian oil.

"Refiners have placed November nominations to lift 1.25 million tonnes (about 9 million barrels) of oil from Iran", one of the sources said.

The details provided by Refinitiv Eikon showed the Islamic Republic exported 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude last week.

The United States plans to impose new sanctions targeting Iran's oil sector on November 4 to try to stop the country's involvement in conflicts in Syria and Iraq and bring Tehran to the negotiating table over its ballistic missile programme.

"India is continuing with its relationship with both its key energy partners Iran and the USA", a second source said.

LONDON-Oil prices started the week under pressure, amid reports the US could grant waivers to some buyers of Iranian crude when oil sanctions on the Islamic Republic go into effect next month. This option was used to pay for Iranian oil during the sanctions imposed by the USA during Barack Obama's presidency and other European governments. "It appears that consumer countries are to be given more time, after all, to replace their oil shipments from Iran so long as they at least reduce them".

The catalyst for crude prices for getting tighten was the worries about tighter supply conditions once Washington's sanctions against Iran's crude oil exports kick in beginning in November.

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Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh on Monday described a Saudi claim that the kingdom could replace Iran's crude exports as "nonsense".

The softer stance on Iran plus news that Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation could ramp up oil production to compensate for the sanctions has lowered oil prices slightly.

Iran's economy is expected to shrink by 1.5 percent in 2018 and by another 3.6 percent in 2019, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in the October update of its World Economic Outlook, heavily downgrading the Islamic Republic's growth prospects with the return of the USA sanctions.

Hedge funds cut their bullish wagers on US crude in the latest week to the lowest level in almost a year, data showed on Friday. "Having said that, it may well be that we are already in the most supportive phase coming from this change and the effect will soon begin to ease". Even in the case of Iran there is an expectation that its oil exports may fall less sharply than feared, while Libya's oil production has stated to rise.

Brent crude, the worldwide benchmark, was down $1.38 to $82.78 per barrel at 1041 GMT.

"The step taken by the government reverses the price deregulation of diesel and petrol and increases the likelihood that the government may ask upstream companies Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (Baa1 stable) and Oil India Limited (Baa2 stable) to share the fuel subsidy burden", the report added.

"The basic point is that they are all government companies", Mr. Pradhan said.

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