Chinese Unipec suspends United States oil imports amid growing trade row

Oil rises as U.S. renew sanctions against Iran

Oil rises as U.S. renew sanctions against Iran

The market appeared to move past the renewal of USA sanctions against Iran, the world's fifth largest oil producer, which underpinned crude futures in the previous session.

Washington wants as many countries as possible to cut imports of Iranian oil to zero, a senior US administration official said in a telephone press briefing.

Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, traded at less than $72 a barrel last night as the sell-off was compounded by data from the US Energy Information Administration showing stockpiles had fallen less than expected.

Analysts estimated that Iranian production would drop further amid the restored sanctions and drive the oil price further up. US refineries produced about 9.9 million barrels of gasoline a day last week, down by about 600,000 barrels compared to the prior week.

The word out of Washington is that the United States is no longer looking at sanctioning Venezuela's oil industry, and not just because Venezuelan oil accounts for a large part of the imports of the refiners on the Gulf Coast.

Crude oil futures for September delivery ended up $0.16, or 0.2% at $69.17 a barrel.

Crude inventories fell by 1.4 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 3.3 million barrels.

With China, India and Turkey already on board to continue Iranian oil imports, Japan also says it is considering continuing shipments amid warnings that new U.S. sanctions on Tehran could push prices above $90 a barrel.

International Olympic Committee and other state firms like Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) enter into annual term import deals with national oil companies of mostly Middle East countries.

Brent futures rose 90 cents, or more than 1 percent, to $74.65 a barrel by 1:38 p.m. EDT (1738 GMT), after hitting a session high of $74.90.

The EU, France, the United Kingdom and Germany said in a joint statement on Monday that they were committed to work on the continuation of Iran's export of oil and gas.

"It's certainly going to impact on movement between the US and China, making it less efficient, meaning pressure on prices here", said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates.

An unexpected 200,000 barrel per day (bpd) drop in oil output in July for Saudi Arabia caused crude futures to rise on Monday - and was accompanied by a wave of renewed fears that prices will spiral upward due to geopolitical tensions.

Exports to Asia fell to 1.76 million b/d in July from 1.85 million b/d in June as demand from South Korea and Taiwan dissipated as the former turned to other countries for condensates.

Analysts have predicted the sanctions could put more than two million barrels per day at risk.

US crude production has climbed dramatically, fueled largely by increased output from shale formations, but may now rise more slowly as prices drop.

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