Trump accuses OPEC of driving up oil prices

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Earlier in the session, Brent and US crude futures had retreated on concerns about rising production in the United States and expectations that OPEC and other producers could relax voluntary output cuts when they meet on June 22-23 in Vienna.

Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in the group, recorded the biggest increase in May as its oil production rose by 161,400 bpd to 10.03 million bpd.

Lukman Otunuga, analyst at futures brokerage FXTM, said higher oil production and forecasts of more to come were undermining prices. Saudi Arabia said it was cutting deeper to lead by example. "Not good!" the president said.

In April Saudi Energy Minister Khaled al-Faleh said the global market has the capacity to absorb higher oil prices - a remark that drew a swift reaction Trump.

Oil demand will grow steadily in 2019 thanks to a solid global economy, but the world may face a large supply gap by late next year if OPEC can not cover any supply shortfalls, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

But Iran, the arch-rival of Saudi Arabia, plus Venezuela, Iraq and smaller producers in the 14-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries disagree.

Another scenario being discussed is for producers to ease the level of cutbacks to 100 percent of the agreed level from around 150 percent now, to fill any supply gap from Venezuela and Iran, should oil get close to $80, the sources said.

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In the US, government data showed crude stockpiles declined by 4.14 million barrels last week, while in Libya armed clashes halted oil loadings at the country's biggest port.

OPEC and a group of non-OPEC producers, including Russian Federation, are now adhering to a deal struck in November 2016 to curb oil production (by about 1.8 million barrels a day) in a bid to support prices.

The International Energy Agency - which advises consuming nations - said earlier Wednesday that output from Iran and Venezuela could drop by 1.5 million barrels a day, or nearly 30 percent, by the end of next year because of USA sanctions and economic upheaval.

There are concerns that oil supplies from Venezuela, which is experiencing economic turmoil, and Iran, which will see a re-imposition of USA sanctions following the U.S.' withdrawal from a nuclear accord, could decline, prompting a supply shortage and further upward pressure on prices.

Opec itself spotlighted USA output in its own monthly report yesterday, citing the growth of non-Opec supply as one of several question marks hanging over the situation. Trump tweeted in April.

This development may be threatening the current expectations on oil revenue for Nigeria's 2018 fiscal plan which propelled the National Assembly to revise the oil price benchmark for 2018 budget as well as the expected revenue and expenditure.

Oil Alliance The oil-buying alliance may initially be made up of India and China, with South Korea and Japan - also major buyers - joining the club later, the Indian government official said on Wednesday.

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