Trump says OPEC 'monopoly' must get prices down

Oil prices fall amid surprise growth in U.S. crude stocks

President Donald Trump on Thursday once again tweeted his belief that major oil producers in the Middle East were conspiring to keep oil prices high, and he seemed to threaten the withdrawal of military resources from the region if the OPEC cartel did not help to lower prices.

Opec and its allies are scheduled to gather in Algeria on Sunday to discuss how to allocate higher supply to offset the shortage of Iranian supplies. Trump wrote on Twitter.

Between 2011 and 2015, when the difference in price between domestic crude oil and foreign crude oil was significantly greater than it had been in previous years, refineries on the US East Coast increased receipts of domestic crude oil, particularly by rail and domestic marine shipping.

Brent crude oil had edged towards the $80 per barrel shortly before Trump's comments, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude had crept above $71 per barrel, despite increased production in Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation.

The EIA said US production exceeded Saudi Arabia's in February "for the first time in more than two decades", and that in June and August, it outproduced Russian Federation "for the first time since February 1999".

In a visit to Moscow this month, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Saudi Arabia, the United States and Russian Federation can between them raise global output in the next 18 months to compensate for falling oil supplies from Iran.

Prices were supported by sanctions on Iranian supplies and pressured by the potential that Chinese demand could wane.

Trump has been consistent in his demands and belief that oil prices are too high.

Trump has imposed sanctions in response to Iran's nuclear program that are to go into full effect on November 4. US light crude oil was 40 cents higher at $71.52 after rising almost 2 percent on Wednesday.

US sanctions on Iran's oil exports come into force on November 4.

Brent has been trading below the psychologically important $80 level for the last week but could now move higher, Reuters markets analyst Wang Tao said.

The comments come just ahead of this weekend's meeting of a committee monitoring the supply pact between OPEC, Russia and some other non-OPEC producers. "Brent is definitely fighting the $80 line, wanting to break above", said SEB Markets chief commodities analyst Bjarne Schieldrop, Reuters reported.

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