Libya Leads OPEC Oil Output to 2018 High Despite Iran Losses

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USA drillers added oil rigs for the first time in three weeks, increasing the rig count by 2 to 862.

Oil prices rose on Tuesday after the evacuation of two Gulf of Mexico oil platforms in preparation for a hurricane.

International Brent crude futures LCOc1 , by contrast, lost ground, trading at $78.10 per barrel, down 5 cents from their last close.

Local refiners are finding it increasingly hard to maintain their Iranian oil imports without U.S. exemptions, as the companies will need to halt imports and clear transactions before the sanctions snap back on November 5.

Oil is a seasonal weak spot for crude oil.

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Second-month Brent futures traded at the biggest premium to third-month futures since early July.

According to reports, Anadarko Petroleum had evacuated and shutdown production at two oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico amid reports that tropical storm Gordon had strengthened into a hurricane, and is expected to make landfall in a couple of days.

Global oil markets have tightened over the last month, pushing up Brent prices by more than 10 percent since the middle of August.

"All of Iran's oil customers are affected by increasing U.S. pressure to halt purchases, even as they request for concessions to cope with the consequences", said Den Syahril, a senior analyst at industry consultant FGE.

"It remains unclear whether OPEC will be able to absorb a potentially massive fall in Iranian oil exports due to the US sanctions", Commerzbank AG said in a note on Monday.

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India will allow state refiners to import Iranian oil if Tehran arranges and insures tankers.

From a broader perspective, the barrel of WTI remains underpinned by the supply disruption threats from Venezuelan falling output and additional United States sanctions on Iran.

FGE estimates Iran's exports will slump to below 1 million barrels a day by mid-2019, while industry consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. expects a plunge of 1.5 to 1.7 million in daily shipments by the end of this year from current levels of about 2.5 million.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, oil minister for Bahrain, said, "I think there is a risk on the demand side; obviously the trade issue is going to impact demand in a negative fashion if it continues, [and] you've got the strong dollar, which is another factor".

Speaking to a group of oil officials on Tuesday, Rouhani said the targeting oil exports as part of efforts to reimpose sanctions on Iran.

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Elsewhere, analysts from BNP Paribas have lowered their forecasts for oil prices for the rest of the year in light of stable demand-supply expectations.