Trump pressures Saudi Arabia to increase oil production

Trump speaks to the press aboard Air Force One en route to Bedminster New Jersey from Joint Base Andrews

North America's oil markets have tightened as an outage of Canada's Syncrude has locked in over 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production.

Before U.S. sanctions were enacted by the Obama administration in 2011, Japan imported about 9 percent of its crude oil from Iran; in 2017, that figure had dropped to 5 percent.

Saudi output in July is likely to show a further jump.

"If this happens, (it) means Trump is asking Saudi Arabia to walk (away) from OPEC", he told Reuters news agency.

A little over an hour later, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported on the call, but offered few details.

However, nothing is certain at this point although the scales are tipped to the US: despite declarations that they will continue importing Iranian oil or actively seek waivers from the sanctions, a number of crude oil buyers from South Korea, India, and Japan have started cutting their shipments from Iran. An industry source estimated shipments had climbed to around 8 million bpd in the last two weeks.

Last week, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel led by Saudi Arabia and non-cartel members agreed to pump 1 million barrels more crude oil per day, a move that should help contain the recent rise in global energy prices.

Oil prices hit $80 a barrel this year for the first time since 2014, prompting consumers like the United States to raise concerns.

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"Europeans guarantee that Iran will be able to sell its oil, although Americans are considering their own measures in this regard (limiting Iran's oil sales)", Zarif said on June 24. "We will do whatever is necessary to keep the market in balance", the Saudi energy minister, Khalid Al-Falih, told journalists at OPEC headquarters in Vienna at the end of the meeting, with Russia's energy minister Alexander Novak seated at his side.

"It basically leaves us with no spare capacity, at a time when Iran isn't the only issue", Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd., said in a Bloomberg television interview.

Iran expressed in the JMMC meeting that any unilateral production increase beyond Member Countries' commitments under the OPEC's decisions would prompt United States to take actions against Iran.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday accused Washington of trying to turn Iranians against their government.

Saudi Arabia, backed by non-member Russian Federation, had argued strongly in favor of increasing production as grumbles in major consumer countries like the United States, India and China have grown about high prices.

"They bring to bear economic pressure to separate the nation from the system. but six USA presidents before him tried this and had to give up", Khamenei was quoted as saying on Saturday by his website Khamenei.ir, referring to Trump.

"The market will go up to $100 I am sure as Saudi Arabia said they will plan an increase for July. The rest depends on geopolitics, and those decisions will be taken based on the situations", he said.

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