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LONDON, Sept 21, 2018 (News Wires) - Oil prices rose on Friday ahead of a meeting of OPEC and other large crude exporters that will focus on production increases as US sanctions restrict Iranian exports.

OPEC and its allies are scheduled to gather in Algeria on Sunday to discuss how to allocate higher supply to offset the shortage of Iranian supplies.

Brent crude oil was up 85 cents at $79.55 a barrel by 11:40 GMT US light crude was up 55 cents at $70.87.

Brent is close to four-year highs, trading just below $80 a barrel, as investors bet that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will be unable to compensate fully for the loss of oil from Iran, OPEC's third-biggest producer.

But the meeting on Sunday is unlikely to be able to change production policy. Such a move would require OPEC to hold what it calls an "extraordinary meeting", which is not on the agenda.

US President Donald Trump increased pressure on OPEC on Thursday, calling on the organisation to "get prices down now!"

"We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices," Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump's criticism was directed primarily at Saudi Arabia, OPEC's biggest producer, after the kingdom said it could tolerate oil prices above $80, at least in the short term, said Commerzbank commodities analyst Carsten Fritsch.

"Saudi Arabia now faces a dilemma," Fritsch said. "Refusing to step up production would mean going against the will of ally Trump, but giving in to Trump´s demand would make it his accomplice, which could see OPEC tested to the limit."

Tanker tracking and industry data show Iranian exports of crude have already begun to decline well before the imposition of new US sanctions on Tehran.

"Iranian crude exports are coming (down) earlier and bigger than expected, at a time seasonal demand is strong. With spare capacity also falling sharply, the market remains exposed to supply-induced price shocks," ANZ Bank analysts said in a note to clients.


CAIRO, Sept 19 , 2018(MENA) - Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek el Mulla and Cypriot Minister of Energy and Industry Yiorgos Lakkotrypis signed an agreement on setting up a natural gas maritime pipeline.

Under the agreement, the pipeline will carry natural gas from the Cypriot Aphrodite field to Egypt to be liquefied ahead of exporting it to the different world markets, said a statement released by the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum.

The agreement, signed in the Cypriot capital Nicosia, will be one of the major elements for enhancing economic relations between the two countries, Mulla said.

It will also help encourage more oil explorations in the region, he said, highlighting the important role of Egypt regarding the future of natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean area given its strategic location and its strong infrastructure.

The agreement is not only about setting up a pipeline, he said, explaining that it will contribute to guaranteeing the supply of gas to the European Union countries. 

LONDON, Sept 18, 2018 - Oil firmed on Tuesday on signs that OPEC would not be prepared to raise output to address shrinking supplies from Iran and as Saudi Arabia signalled it was in no rush to bring prices down.

Brent crude futures were up 98 cents a barrel to $79.03 a barrel at 10:39 GMT, after hitting a high of $79.37.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 83 cents at $69.74 per barrel, after rising over $1 to $69.95.

Ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC producers meet on Sunday to discuss compliance with output policies. OPEC sources have told Reuters no immediate action was planned and producers would discuss how to share a previously agreed output increase.

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed Saudi sources, the kingdom was currently comfortable with prices above $80 per barrel, at least for the short-term.

The news agency reported that while the kingdom had no desire to push prices higher than $80 a barrel, it may no longer be possible to avoid it because of tightening supplies amid US sanctions against Iran.

OPEC and industry sources have previously told Reuters the kingdom was keen to keep the lid on prices at $80 per barrel until US congressional elections to avoid coming under any additional pressure from US President Donald Trump.

"It casts doubts on whether Saudi Arabia will increase output to compensate for the loss of Iranian crude once sanctions come into effect," said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

US sanctions affecting Iran's petroleum sector will come into force from Nov. 4.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said an oil price between $70 and $80 was temporary and sanctions-driven, adding that the long-term price would stand around $50.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said last week in Moscow that he did not foresee any price spikes once sanctions came into effect and was positive about Saudi output.

CAIRO, Sept 17, 2018 (MENA) - Gastec Company and Italian Company Eni have signed an agreement to establish auto service and natural gas fuel stations in various areas across the country particularly in Upper Egypt to serve owners of natural gas-operated vehicles.

A statement released by the Ministry of Petroleum on Monday said the ministry seeks to expand fuel stations at vital areas and encourage people to transform their vehicles to use natural gas as fuel.

The agreement includes using the trade mark Eni, which holds shares in Gastec, to establish fuel stations that provide various services to vehicles at the highest standard, Minister Tarek el Molla said.

CAIRO, Sept 16, 2018(MENA) - Investments of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) hit LE 1.9 billion during the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the petroleum minister said.

While chairing the general assembly meetings of EGPC, Petrogas, Alexandria Petroleum Company and the Egyptian Petrochemicals Company, Tareq el Mulla underlined commitment to supporting the state-owned EGPC in view of the great potentials to boost its investments in the coming period.

The minister said the petroleum sector achieved one of its main strategic goals; namely securing domestic needs of petroleum products over the past few years.

He underlined the importance of developing refining labs, improving the quality of petroleum products and upgrading petrochemical factories. 

Meanwhile, EGPC Chairman Mohsen Noubi said the company has managed this year to produce 33 million barrels of oil equivalent, the highest since its establishment.

The company has also secured a surplus of 36 million barrels of oil equivalent, he said.

Petrogas Chairman Adel Showeikh said the company managed to cover the local market needs of butane gas.

He noted that the company secured about 4.2 million tons of butane gas for the local market.

Alexandria Petroleum Company Chairman Medhat Bahgat said the company refined about 4.3 million tonnes of crude oil, thus contributing to securing high quality petroleum products.

He noted that the value of the company's products is estimated at about LE50.6 billion.

Chairman of the Egyptian Petrochemicals Company Gaber Ahmed said upgrading production units had a great impact on developing the quality and quantity of the company's production which climbed to LE2.3 billion at an LE555 million uptick in comparison with the previous fiscal year. 

LONDON, Sept 14, 2018 (News Wires) - The US will find it difficult to cut Iran's oil exports completely as the oil market is already tight and rival producers cannot make up the shortfall, a top Iranian official said on Friday.

Washington is seeking to cut Iranian oil exports to zero by November as it reimposes sanctions, and is encouraging other producers such as Saudi Arabia, other OPEC members and Russia to pump more to meet the shortfall.

Even so, the expected loss of Iranian oil, declining supply from another OPEC member Venezuela and other outages are boosting crude prices, which this week hit $80 a barrel, the highest since May.

Iran's OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, said in comments to Reuters that a "supply shortage" meant that the United States would not be able to meet its zero export target.

"There is no spare capacity anywhere," he said.

A long-time adviser at Saudi Arabia's Energy Ministry also said last month that current U.S. sanctions on Iran were unlikely to stop Iranian oil exports completely.

Under pressure from US President Donald Trump to lower oil prices, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies agreed in June to boost production, having participated in a supply-cutting deal in place since 2017.

While OPEC production has increased since then, Saudi Arabia has added less crude than it initially indicated. Kazempour has voiced scepticism that other producers can add much more oil.

The OPEC governor is typically the second most senior post in a country's OPEC delegation after the oil minister. Kazempour has represented Iran in that position for many years.



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