Oil prices fell on Wednesday, with Brent dropping by more than $1, after the United States said it would consider requests for waivers from sanctions due to snap back into place on Iranian crude exports.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down $1.10, or 1.4 percent, at $77.76 a barrel by 0112 GMT. U.S. crude CLc1 was down 68 cents, or 0.9 percent, at $73.43.
Both contracts had posted gains earlier in the previous session after industry data showed inventories fell more than expected last week in the United States.
Washington will consider requests from some countries to be exempted from sanctions it will put into effect in November to prevent Iran from exporting oil, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday.
“There will be a handful of countries that come to the United States and ask for relief from that. We’ll consider it,” Pompeo said, according to the text of an interview in Abu Dhabi with Sky News Arabia released by the U.S. State Department. He did not identify any countries.
Washington had earlier told countries they must halt all imports of Iranian oil from Nov. 4 or face U.S. financial measures, with no exemptions.
The U.S. pulled out of a multinational deal in May to lift sanctions against Iran in return for curbs to its nuclear program.
Later on Tuesday, after arriving in Brussels for a NATO summit, Pompeo stressed the need to keep up pressure on Iran in coordination with allies. He also planned to reassure allies about alternative oil supplies.
Efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers have led to a tighter oil market after a persistent glut.
With the impending sanctions on OPEC member Iran and supply disruptions from Canada to Libya, prices have risen and sparked fears of shortages, amid rising demand.
U.S. crude inventories fell last week by 6.8 million barrels, according to data from industry group, the American Petroleum Institute.
That decline was larger than expected, causing crude futures to gain in post-settlement trading. [API/S]
Analysts polled by Reuters forecast that crude stocks fell on average by 4.5 million barrels, ahead of government data at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday. [EIA/S]
Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Joseph Radford
Gordon Sondland leaves no doubt Trump is a criminal as he surprises the world with his devastating testimony
On Wednesday morning, EU ambassador Gordon Sondland decided to save himself. In dramatic testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Sondland — a Donald Trump appointee who gave the president $1 million for his inaugural party — gave up the president and pretty much everyone else.
Like former ambassador Kurt Volker on Tuesday, Sondland painted a picture of himself as a hapless naïf, unaware that the proposed "investigations" Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, kept demanding from Ukrainian leaders were actually an effort to fabricate conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic officials.
Impeachment hearing explodes with applause as Jackie Speier highlights Trump’s daily lies
Texas Republican Rep. Mike Conaway on Thursday argued that it was not illegal for Republicans to "out" the White House whistleblower.
Conway cited a Washington Post "fact-check" that gave "Three Pinocchios" to the claim that the whistleblower has a statutory right to anonymity.
Following his time, Ambassador Gordon Sondland was questioned by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA).
During Speier's questioning, she was interrupted by Conaway, who brought up The Post giving "Three Pinocchios."
Adam Schiff buries one of the GOP’s remaining anti-impeachment talking points
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on Wednesday took a hammer to one of the Republican Party's few remaining talking points aimed at undermining the House impeachment inquiry.
Throughout the testimony of European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland, Republicans kept saying that there couldn't be any kind of extortion scheme on President Donald Trump's part because Ukraine got its military aid without publicly announcing investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden.
Schiff, however, showed why this argument simply doesn't hold up.
"My colleagues seem to be under the impression that unless the president spoke the words, 'Ambassador Sondland, I am bribing the Ukrainian president,' that there's no evidence of bribery!" he said.