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Oil above $ 73 backed by Venezuela turbulence



Oil prices hit $ 73 yesterday with the Venezuelan opposition leader urging the military to back Nicolas Maduro's government and after Saudi Arabia said an agreement between producers to cut production could be extended beyond June until the end of 2019.
Brent crude futures reached $ 73.08 a barrel, up 1.44% from the last close.
Crude oil was traded at US $ 64.42 per barrel, up 1.45%.
The situation in Venezuela, an OPEC member whose oil exports were hit by US sanctions and an economic crisis, proved volatile on Monday. The government immediately rejected any indication of a military revolt.
Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Faleh told the Russian Information Agency that Saudi Arabia would not rush to increase oil supplies to offset the loss of Iranian oil due to US sanctions and would abide by the global agreement to cut production, which could be extended by the end of 2019.
The United States last week decided not to renew sanctions exemptions imposed on Iran, which it granted last year to a number of Tehran oil buyers, following a more aggressive approach than expected. Oil prices rose on fears of further weakness in the market.
Al-Falih spoke with the Russian Information Agency yesterday, without specifying whether there was a change in production levels after June.
The Saudi minister's remarks came after US President Donald Trump said last week that he had spoken to OPEC and called for price cuts.
Oil prices have jumped nearly 40 percent since January, backed by OPEC supply cuts and US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.
Commenting on Trump's statement, Al-Falih told the Russian news agency that the world's largest oil exporter was ready to meet the demand of oil consumers after the end of Iran's oil exemptions in early May, including replacement of Iranian oil supplies from Saudi Arabia.
OPEC, Russia and other producers, known as the OPEC + alliance, agreed at the end of last year to cut production by 1.2 million bpd in an attempt to raise prices. OPEC members will meet on June 25 and 26 to decide whether to extend the agreement or adjust production targets.


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