Trump again accused the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries of driving fuel prices higher on Wednesday, and urged US allies such as Saudi Arabia to pump more if they wanted Washington to continue protecting them against their top foe Iran.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $77.82 per barrel, up 6 cents from their last close.
Oil futures were climbing on Thursday, with USA crude hovering at its highest in about 3-1/2 years as supply disruptions continue to support the market.
Production at Syncrude Canada's 360,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil sands facility near Fort McMurray, Alberta, was hit by a power outage last month and is likely to remain offline through July, helping drain USA inventories.
"Because it's driving season, you expect a lot of crude to go through refineries right now - so that's why we were looking for a draw", said Gene McGillian, vice president of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. Irritated by what he feels is a lack of cooperation from the Saudis who head OPEC, added: "If anything, they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little $'s". While Trump says he wants lower oil prices, USA sanctions against OPEC members Iran and Venezuela are adding uncertainty to the market, causing prices to spike. This must be a two way street.
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This time around, the US sanctions and the tough USA approach to try to cut off as many Iranian oil barrels as possible have spooked banks, insurers, and shippers, who have started to wind down business with Iran for fear of coming under secondary sanctions.
OPEC together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russian Federation started to withhold output in 2017 to prop up prices.
In May, the US retreated from a multilateral deal with Iran regarding its nuclear disarmament program, and imposed sanctions to limit the world's fourth largest oil exporter's access to global markets.
Trump claimed in a tweet that Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had agreed to his call to boost production by "maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels".
Iran has threatened to block oil exports through a key Gulf waterway in retaliation against any hostile U.S. action.
Kazempour's defense of OPEC came one day after Trump took to Twitter to attack the organization for its inaction on rising oil prices.