Oil prices stable before Iran nuclear talks

18th November 2013, Comments 0 comments

Global oil prices steadied on Monday before fresh international talks over Iran's nuclear programme which could result in a further easing of supply worries despite tensions over Libya, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in December, added 17 cents to $94.01 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for January eased five cents to stand at $108.46 a barrel in London late afternoon deals.

"With prospects of an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program continuing to rise, oil prices on the Brent measure continue to remain under pressure," noted analyst Michael Hewson at CMC Markets.

"At this rate the geopolitical risk premium runs the risk of melting away. The news that Saudi Arabia exported oil at its highest rate in eight years suggests that the market remains well supplied.

"US oil prices are also struggling to rally in any meaningful way, as US stockpiles continue to remain high and economic data continues to remain average at best."

Negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1 -- Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China plus Germany -- restart in Geneva on Wednesday after the last round failed to seal a deal.

Top diplomats said that they were coming close to an interim agreement under which Iran, a huge producer of oil, would curb or freeze parts of its nuclear programme for some relief from crippling sanctions.

However, President Francois Hollande declared on Monday that sanctions on Iran will remain in place as long as France is not convinced that Tehran has "definitively renounced" its alleged nuclear weapons programme.

"I confirm here that we will maintain the sanctions as long as we are not certain that Iran has definitively renounced its military (nuclear) programme," he said.

"France will not let Iran arm itself with nuclear weapons."

Israel and the West suspect Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside its uranium enrichment programme, which Tehran insists is entirely for peaceful purposes.

Meanwhile in crude exporter Libya, troops were deployed in Tripoli on Monday after militias were ordered to leave the capital following deadly weekend clashes sparked by a protest against the former rebels in Libya's 2011 revolt.

The unrest was the deadliest in the capital since the uprising and erupted when former rebels from Misrata fired on protesters, triggering clashes that killed 43 people and wounded 450.

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© 2013 AFP

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