Oil prices edged higher on Tuesday on growing evidence of falling Iranian crude exports before the imposition of new U.S. sanctions, as well as a partial production shutdown in the Gulf of Mexico because of Hurricane Michael.
Brent crude futures rose 81 cents to $84.72 a barrel by 12:44 p.m. EDT (1644 GMT). The global benchmark hit a four-year high of $86.74 last week but slipped as low as $82.66 on Monday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 49 cents to $74.78 a barrel.
Iran’s crude exports fell further in the first week of October, according to tanker data and an industry source, as buyers sought alternatives ahead of U.S. sanctions that take effect on Nov. 4.
Iran, OPEC’s third-largest producer, exported 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in that seven-day period, Refinitiv Eikon data showed. An industry source who also tracks exports said October shipments so far were below 1 million bpd.
That is down from at least 2.5 million bpd in April, before President Donald Trump in May withdrew the United States from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed sanctions. The figure also marks a further fall from 1.6 million bpd in September.