Oil dips from recent highs on hopes of alternatives to Iran supply

FGE's Fesharaki Sees 1.5 Million Barrels of Iran Oil Removed Per Day

As the oil price hits another three and a half year high after Donald Trump pulled the USA out of the Iran nuclear deal, Ian King speaks to Andy Critchlow, who is head of energy content for S&P Global Platts.

France pledged on Friday to push back against the threat of USA sanctions against French companies doing business with Iran, in the wake of Washington's withdrawal from the global nuclear agreement with Tehran.

Brent for July settlement slipped 36 cents to $76.76 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 15 US cents, or 0.2%, at US$71.21 a barrel after hitting a November 2014 high of US$71.89 per barrel on Thursday.

For the week, Brent was on track for a 3.3-per cent gain and USA crude a 2.1-per cent rise.

"Iran's exports of oil to Asia and Europe will nearly certainly decline later this year and into 2019 as some nations seek alternatives in order to avoid trouble with Washington and as sanctions start to bite".

Just 24-hours earlier France's foreign minister condemned the reimposing of sanctions with Iran, labelling the move "unacceptable" in comments that expose the deepening rift between Washington and its European allies on the issue. The Brent variety declined by 0.22% to 77.30 Dollars per barrel.

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USA investment bank Jefferies said in a note that it expects Iranian crude oil exports to start falling in the next few months.

OPEC's agreement is built to stretch as far as the end of 2018.

Three OPEC-connected sources told Reuters that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries member states are in no rush to lay out the decision addressing the need to pump additional oil to compensate for the expected decline in Iranian exports following the U.S. re-imposition of harsh economic sanctions. A second OPEC source said that while the need to pump additional supplies was under consideration, it was safe for the Organization to remain in place and monitor the situation.

Oil prices dipped on Friday, easing from multi-year highs in the previous session on hopes that alternative supplies could replace a looming drop in Iranian exports from United States sanctions.

Additionally, there are also some traders who believe soaring US crude oil production may also help fill Iran's supply gap.

"In 2012 the reduction in Iranian crude production and exports was around 1 million bpd", Wittner said. The rig count is a forward-looking indicator on production.

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