Washington — US President Donald Trump spoke Thursday with Abu Dhabi's crown prince about the UAE's "contributions to the global energy markets as a reliable supplier of oil," the White House said in a readout of the call.
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Trump and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan also spoke about the impact of "crippling" US oil sanctions against Iran, the White House added.
The Trump administration has about two weeks to decide whether to give Iran's top oil buyers fresh waivers, allowing them to continue to buy oil from Tehran.
The US granted six-month waivers in November to China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey. Three of the eight countries have zeroed out their Iranian oil imports, the State Department has said. Analysts expect most of the major buyers to receive new waivers, but at lower volumes.
The early May waiver deadline has been one factor elevating crude oil futures.
ICE June Brent settled 35 cents/b higher at $71.97/b Thursday, a five-month high, on tighter global supply outlooks and rising geopolitical risk. Front-month Brent was last higher on November 7 at $72.07/b, just after the US reimposed sanctions on Iran's oil buyers. NYMEX May WTI was up 24 cents/b at $64/b at Thursday's close.
Iranian crude and condensate exports surged 12% month on month to 1.7 million b/d in March, the highest since October, as key buyers scrambled to pick up more volumes before the US sanctions waivers expire.
S&P Global Platts Analytics expects Iran's shipments to fall to 950,000 b/d by the third quarter of 2019, and to 800,000 b/d by the next US waivers deadline in November.
The UAE is OPEC's No. 3 producer with output of 3.05 million b/d in March, according to the Platts OPEC survey, steady from February.
Trump has tweeted about oil prices 12 times since becoming president, but the latest on March 28 may have shown the now-expected messages to OPEC are having a diminishing impact.
"Very important that OPEC increase the flow of oil," Trump said at the time. "World markets are fragile, price of oil getting too high. Thank you!"
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