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"In view of the latest price slump and the oversupply that looks set to materialize next year, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is thinking about cutting back oil production", analysts at Commerzbank said in a note on November 8.

Trump has been gradually re-imposing USA sanctions on Iran, now focused on the oil, shipping and banking industries, after pulling the United States out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal earlier this year.

While Iranian oil exports are expected to fall because of the U.S. sanctions that came into effect on Monday, reports from Opec and other forecasters indicate that the global market could have a supply surplus in 2019 as demand slows.

The United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia are pumping at or near record highs, producing more than 33 million barrels per day (bpd), a third of the world's oil.

The United States re-imposed sanctions on Monday to choke Iran's oil and shipping industries, while temporarily allowing top customers such as China and India to keep buying crude from the Islamic Republic.

US output meanwhile reached a new record high of 11.6 million bpd in the latest week and the country has now overtaken Russian Federation as the world's largest oil producer.

Bernstein Energy expects "Iranian exports will average 1.4-million to 1.5-million barrels a day during the exemption period", down from a peak of nearly 3-million barrels a day in mid-2018.

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On the supply-side, oil is in ample availability despite the sanctions against Iran. Nationwide stockpiles rose by 5.8 million barrels, exceeding the 2 million-barrel gain expected in a Bloomberg survey.

Russian output in October is put at a record 11.4 million barrels per day - an increase of almost half a million barrels per day since it began ramping up production levels in May. US crude production has accelerated to new records, OPEC output is at the highest in years and waivers will allow some Iranian crude to flow to the market despite USA sanctions.

The United States is now the world's biggest crude oil producer, pushing Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia to the back seat.

Meanwhile, EIA expected that US crude oil production will average 10.9 million barrels per day in 2018, up from 9.4 million barrels per day in 2017, and will average 12.1 million barrels per day in 2019. Tehran worries OPEC and non-OPEC countries such as Russian Federation will increase their production to fill the gap in response. Iraq has also received a waiver for the import of electricity from Tehran.

Forecasts of a 2019 supply surplus and slowing demand have also dented the market.

Instead of the widespread predictions of $100 oil that dominated analytical thought up until a few weeks ago, $40 is now regarded as a more reasonable outlook in the wake of yet another drop in prices on Thursday for a ninth consecutive session.


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