Brent crude oil prices could top $100 a barrel as markets react to U.S. sanctions on Iran this November, an energy expert said.
Brent futures, the international benchmark for crude oil, were trading at $77.37 Tuesday morning, according to CME Group. WTI futures, the U.S. benchmark, were up $1.29 at $68.83 in Tuesday trading.
Oil prices haven’t reached $100 a barrel since 2014.
“The higher price will only be blamed on the Trump administration. There’s not much anybody can do if the sanctions come in and are enforced properly,” Fereidun Fesharaki, founder and chairman of FACTS Global Energy, told CNBC.
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Fesharaki said if it weren’t for the trade war and sanctions, he predicts Brent futures would actually go down as low as $70.
“But now the sanctions threat is real and less than two months in front of us. That will transform the market into much higher prices,” Fesharaki said.
Iran produced 4.7 million barrels per day in 2017 and is the world’s 6th largest oil producer in the world, according to the Energy Information Administration.
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Countries that buy Iranian oil have until Nov. 4 to stop purchasing from that country or face U.S. sanctions. Fesharaki said other countries will have a hard time filling in the void.
Saudi Arabia is already taking advantage of the pending sanctions by cutting the price of its crude oil to increase its market share should Iranian oil be taken out of the market, said Vito Turitto, a quantitative analyst with S&P Global Platts.
It’s also an opportunity for U.S. shale producers to ramp up production that was too costly when prices dropped four years ago. But Fesharaki argues that the drillers are already at full capacity.
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“It’s a fallacy to believe that U.S. shale can fill the Iran void,” he said.
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