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Riyadh would not have murdered Khashoggi without U.S. protection: Rouhani

24 October 2018

Oil prices fell almost 3 percent to more than one-month lows on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia said it could supply more crude quickly if needed, easing concerns ahead of us sanctions on Iran and as USA equity markets sold off. Washington is largely depending on Saudi Arabia to fill the gap left by the loss of the Iranian barrels. A lower price will help.

Additionally, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, visiting Israel this week, said on Sunday that it will be hard for countries to receive waivers on Iran oil sanctions.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down $1.28 to $75.16 a barrel at 0855 GMT.

Mr Falih said he would not rule out the possibility that Saudi Arabia would produce between one million and two million barrels per day (bpd) more than current levels in future.

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The minister reiterated that the market is unable to find a replacement for Iran's oil, urging Trump to abandon his plan to impose sanctions on the country.

On whether the world can avoid oil prices hitting $100 per barrel again, Mr Falih said: "I cannot give you a guarantee, because I cannot predict what will happen to other suppliers".

He insisted earlier this week that OPEC's largest producer would continue to separate oil and politics, pledging sufficient supply amid market anxiety following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Falih said on Monday there was no intention of doing that.

Meanwhile, Iran's oil minister Bijan Zanganeh has said that Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation can not replace Iran' oil as the production capacity of the two countries has reached its peak.

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In an effort to maintain stable supplies to the crude market, Al-Falih said he hopes the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its non-OPEC oil partners will sign an "open-ended" agreement in December.

The minister said Saudi Arabia had in fact used its inventories to release about 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of more oil to the market between May and September. "As I have said many times, there is no replacement for Iranian oil in the market", he said.

UBS analysts expect oil demand growth to slow to 1.2 million bpd in 2019, on higher oil prices and weaker economic growth, slightly above the long-term average, adding that demand is forecast to be flat in OECD countries, with China and India continuing to drive growth.

USA crude inventories probably rose 3.7 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts.

Turkish police find Saudi consulate car abandoned in Istanbul parking lot
Riyadh has given multiple and conflicting accounts on what led to Khashoggi's death on october 2 at its consulate in Istanbul . Five Turkish employees of the Saudi consulate have also given testimonies to prosecutors, Turkish media reported.

Riyadh would not have murdered Khashoggi without U.S. protection: Rouhani