Trump accuses OPEC of driving up oil prices

Trump bashes OPEC for 'high' oil prices

Oil prices steadied on Thursday, but were likely to remain under pressure from evidence of rising US output and uncertainty over the outlook for supply before a key meeting next week of the world's largest exporters.

Russian and Saudi production has been held back voluntarily since 2017, when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), together with some non-OPEC producers including Russia, started supply cuts aimed at propping up prices.

OPEC and non-OPEC producers are meeting in Vienna on June 22 to discuss the supply situation.

Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, fired back quickly at Trump's words.

Mr Trump used Twitter to accuse the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries of being "at it again", in a fresh verbal attack on the cartel which he blames for the faster than expected oil price recovery.

"We shouldn't exaggerate the need of the oil market for more oil at the present time, and which could cause great damage to global markets", Mr Jabbar said.

Iran's OPEC governor later told Reuters "You can not place sanctions on two OPEC founder members and still blame OPEC for oil price volatility", referring to itself and Venezuela.

The US move has pressured European and Asian clients to stop importing Iranian oil or doing business with the country.

Production fell in Nigeria, Libya and Venezuela, but increased in Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Iraq.

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Charles Schumer, the leader of Senate Democrats, recently linked $3-plus gasoline to Trump's decision to revive sanctions on Iran.

The meeting with the envoys and the talks with China, thus, laid the ground for Pradhan to forcefully convey India's message to OPEC energy ministers at the two-day OPEC International Seminar in Vienna next week. The kingdom reported that it increased production in May to about 10 million barrels a day.

"Prices will be above $150 in less than two years", he tweeted on Wednesday. The low extended to $66.51.

In contrast, Saudi Arabia and several other OPEC members, including the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, and non-OPEC nation Oman would prefer a gradual production boost to avoid upsetting the oil market.

Trump wants OPEC to increase its oil production and curb prices. This would make it harder to respond to a supply shock, such as in Venezuela, where output has declined to a 33-year-low due to an economic crisis.

Trump drew lots of tweeted responses, including one from oil hedge fund founder Pierre Andurand, who expects prices will be above $150 a barrel in less than two years.

Prices peaked in late May, scraping the $80 per barrel ceiling on the Brent futures contract and $72.24 on the West Texas Intermediate.

Official US production and inventory data is due to be published on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

US President Donald Trump speaks at a press conference following the historic US-North Korea summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

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