Monday Apr 22, 2019
NEW YORK: Oil prices gained Monday as the Trump administration ended waivers for countries that had been importing Iranian crude in spite of US sanctions.
Near 1250 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for May delivery was at $65.39 a barrel, up 2.2 percent in electronic trading before the market officially opened.
Brent crude oil in London for June delivery advanced 2.5 percent to $73.78 a barrel.
Oil prices held their gains after surging to their highest point since late 2018 overnight on reports of the US policy shift, which was made official by the White House early Monday.
The White House said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – close US allies that back President Donald Trump's hawkish stance against regional rival Iran – would work to make up the difference in oil to ensure that global markets are not rocked.
"This decision is intended to bring Iran's oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue," the White House said in a statement.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said ally Saudi Arabia would help to make up easily for any shortfalls in oil supply after he ordered a tightening of sanctions on Iran's oil exports.
"Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up the Oil Flow difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian Oil," Trump said in a tweet.
Earlier, the White House announced it was tightening the sanctions to try to cripple the industry crucial to Iran's economy.
Trump has taken a hard line on Iran, which is in confrontation both with Saudi Arabia and the chief US ally in the region, Israel.
The White House said its intention is to "bring Iran's oil exports to zero" with its latest move.
Trump last year withdrew the United States from a multilateral 2015 accord negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama, under which Iran drastically scaled back its nuclear program in return for promises of sanctions relief.