Oil prices near $80 a barrel as concern grows over global supply

Oil prices climb as Iran sanctions loom

Crude oil prices gained traction on Tuesday and finally staged a decisive recovery with the barrel of West Texas Intermediate breaking above the $69 mark.

Oil prices rose on Tuesday as US sanctions squeezed Iranian crude exports, tightening global supply despite efforts by Washington to get other producers to increase output.

South Korea has chose to comply with US demands to cut oil imports from Iran to zero, becoming the first to do so out of the top three buyers.

Oil prices have surged to within an inch of $80 (£61) a barrel as Hurricane Florence nears the United States east coast and could climb to multi-year highs by the end of the week, analysts have suggested.

Two supertankers left Iran's oil terminal Kharg Island en route to China late on Wednesday-the first Iranian oil shipment to its single biggest oil customer in 18 days, which was the longest gap between crude-laden tankers departing for China in three years, according to tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

"Markets ... are expecting substantial price pressure as Iran sanction loom", said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore.

"South Korea bought 194,000 bpd from Iran in July", OilPrice said.

As investors grow concerned that Iranian sanctions may leave the market short of crude oil, November Brent crude futures now trade at a premium of $0.47 over the December contract, highest since May.

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Global oil output hit a record last month, and the IEA sees continued increases in oil production.

"This is a huge uncertainty on the market how countries, which buy nearly 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian oil, will act".

U.S. crude stocks fell by 8.6 million barrels in the week to September 7 to 395.9 million, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said on Tuesday, while the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) cut its forecast for U.S. crude output growth in 2019.

S&P global Platts said OPEC, in a report, indicated demand for the organization's own crude oil in September will be nearly 1 million bpd more than the level produced in August.

As Middle East markets tighten, Asian buyers are seeking alternative supplies, with South Korean and Japanese imports of US crude hitting a record in September.

In 2018, demand for OPEC crude is expected at 32.91 million bpd, with demand for the second half to average 33.50 million bpd, the monthly market report showed.

WTI was pushed over $70 during the previous session due to falling crude inventory and production levels.

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