WTI oil reaches highest since 2014 on Iran worries

US Crude Edges Toward $70 as Traders Brace for Iran Decision

Venezuela Iran issues led to highest rise in oil prices since 2014

Futures in NY and London jumped as much as 1.4 percent.

Also driving oil prices higher was the May 12 deadline set by U.S. President Donald Trump for Europeans to "fix" the deal with Iran over its nuclear program.

"It seems that the bureaucratic wheels are turning in Washington to prepare for a sanctions snapback", RBC Capital Markets analyst Helima Croft said in a note, adding that "the extraterritorial nature of us sanctions, which cover energy, shipbuilding, finance, trade, insurance, etc., means that.Iran's oil exports could credibly be curtailed by 200,000-300,000 bpd".

Indeed, domestic oil production - driven by shale extraction - rose to an all-time high of 10.62 million barrels per day (bpd) last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said. Crude at $60 to $65/bbl is "suitable", an official from the OPEC producer said on Sunday, signaling a split with fellow group member Saudi Arabia that's said to be aiming for $80 oil. The group will meet next month in Vienna.

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"The expectation that the USA will leave the sanctions waivers is leading Iran to sell as much as it can", Petromatrix strategist Olivier Jakob said.

Crude prices started the week in an upbeat mood on Monday, reaching their strongest level in nearly four years as traders increased their bets the USA would pull out the Iran nuclear deal, raising the potential for tighter global oil stockpiles. Total volume traded was about 23% above the 100-day average.

Yuan-denominated futures for September delivery rose 2.9 percent to 460 yuan (US$72.27) per barrel on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange. Monday was the first time since November 2014 that WTI had climbed above US$70 per barrel.

"The market at this stage is pricing in a US stepping away from the nuclear deal, so it's allowed the risk premium to build even further", said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen.

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Trump, while refusing to disclose what he'll do by May 12, repeated his opinion that the existing accord is "a frightful agreement for the United States". We have heard this before, but it comes at a critical time as the showdown with the USA, and the high likelihood that there will be new sanctions on Iran, means that the global oil market will be caught short. The constant fluctuation in oil prices is destabilizing for future investment and security of supply, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said. If the U.S. goes it alone as we do not Import Iranian Oilare allies such as Japan and South Korea do and they may switch to other suppliers to comply with the stance of the U.S. On the Natural Gas front the market has been a tough nut to crack.

Since sanctions were eased in January 2016, Iran's crude production has almost doubled, while exports last month soared to record levels.

Money managers curbed their enthusiasm for oil just before the US benchmark price surged, with total wagers on WTI sliding to the lowest since early January.

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