WTI crude hits $63 on after Saudi oil tankers sabotaged

WTI crude hits $63 on after Saudi oil tankers sabotaged

Last week, White House national security adviser John Bolton announced that the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force were heading to the Middle East following "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings" toward USA interests in the region.

Tensions have risen since President Donald Trump withdrew America from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, and restored US sanctions that have pushed Iran's economy into crisis.

Washington tightened sanctions on Iran this month, eliminating waivers that had allowed some countries to buy its oil, saying it wanted to cut Tehran's crude exports to zero.

The sanctions have already more than halved Iranian oil exports to one million bpd or less, from a peak of 2.8 million bpd past year.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the report. The presence of a United States warship in the Bab al Mandab, the arrival of B-52H Stratofortress bombers at Qatar's Al Udeid Air Base, the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group's deployment to the Persian Gulf, new economic sanctions on Iran, the USA embassy in Iraq issuing a warning, and Washington's terrorist designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have collectively contributed to this extremely tense situation.

Washington withdrew a year ago from a 2015 pact between Iran and global powers aimed at reining in Tehran's nuclear plans.

As the White House intensifies its "maximum pressure" campaign against Tehran, Iranian officials are weighing their options too with the question of whether Iran would ever close the Strait of Hormuz.

Iranian officials denounced the act of sabotage. "If they do anything they will suffer greatly", the president added during his scheduled meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. "It isn't possible and the Iranians know it isn't possible". It said the incident did not result in oil spills. Tehran said it was a deliberate attack.

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Araqchi also said another Iranian condition was to have full access to oil-export revenues and to spend them as it pleased, not only on food and medicine as proposed by European Union countries. What is unclear, how Iran will retaliate in the coming weeks as the pain intensifies.

The US Navy's 5th Fleet, which controls the waters, did not immediately offer comment on the incident.

Also, U.S. crude's widening discount to Brent has strengthened demand for U.S. crude exports. Iran lies to the north and the UAE and Oman to the south. Hormuz is the single most important waterway for global oil shipments, with tankers hauling about 40% of all the crude traded internationally every day.

"We are very anxious about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side but ends with some kind of conflict", Jeremy Hunt told reporters in Belgium. No one has claimed responsibility.

While Beijing has criticised the U.S. sanctions, companies are erring on the side of caution.

The incident came after the U.S. Maritime Administration, a division of the U.S. Transportation Department, warned Thursday that Iran could target commercial sea traffic. "There's not only an economic significance, but a political and a military one".

"Saudi OSPs for June have been very strong, so Indians may have taken extra from others at competitive rates", said Sri Paravaikkarasu, director for Asia oil at Singapore-based consultancy FGE. "I think they would be satisfied with a small, reciprocal step from Europe", another source said.

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