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Oil prices fell slightly on Monday morning in Asia

Oil prices fell slightly on Monday morning in Asia on reports that Washington is considering granting waivers to sanctions against Iran’s oil exports that take effect in November.

Crude Oil WTI Futures for November delivery dropped 0.85% to $73.71 per barrel at 10:51PM ET (02:51 GMT) on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent Oil Futures for December delivery slumped 1.05% to $83.28 a barrel on London’s Intercontinental Exchange.

A U.S. official said on Friday that Washington would consider exemptions for countries that showed efforts to reduce their imports of Iranian oil, easing market concerns over tighter crude supply next month.

The White House will impose crude sanctions on the oil exporter in November and the Trump administration put pressure on governments and companies to slash their imports from Iran to zero. The U.S. also urged oil producers to raise their output to compensate the shortfall from Iran, which Saudi Arabia is said to replace.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg on Friday that “Iran reduced their exports by 700,000 barrels a day, if I’m not mistaken. And Saudi Arabia and OPEC and non-OPEC countries, they’ve produced 1.5 million barrels a day. So we export as much as 2 barrels for any barrel that disappeared from Iran recently.”

He believes that the recent rise in oil prices has little to do with the Iran sanctions.

“We believe the higher price that we have in the last month, it’s not because of Iran. It’s mostly because of things happening in Canada, and Mexico, Libya, Venezuela and other countries that moved the price a little bit higher,” he said.

Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed al-Sada went further to say on Sunday that the oil market is balanced in terms of supply and demand, and that “geopolitical changes” are cited for the reasons for the rise in crude prices.

“There are developments in the oil market including supply and the increase in global demand, and these considerations will be taken into account at the next meeting of OPEC,” he said.

On the supply side, the U.S. oil drilling rig count fell for a third consecutive week to 861 in the week to Oct. 5, according to energy firm Baker Hughes on Friday.

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