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Sanctions, OPEC cuts push Asia's heavy crude oil prices above Brent

by_florence_tan
Sanctions, OPEC cuts push Asia's heavy crude oil prices above Brent

Middle East oil benchmarks Dubai and DME Oman have nudged above prices for Brent crude, an unusual move as U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran along with output cuts by OPEC tighten supply of medium to heavy oil, traders and analysts said. Heavier grades, mainly produced in the Middle East, Canada and Latin America, typically have a high sulphur content and are usually cheaper than Brent, the benchmark for lighter oil in the Atlantic Basin. "The forceful implementation of U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan crude exports, the greater-than-expected recent Saudi crude output cut ... and the uncertainty over U.S. sanction exemptions on Iranian crude have all served to strengthen sour crudes relative to sweet benchmarks such as Brent," said Tilak Doshi, a Singapore-based analyst at consultancy Muse, Stancil & Co.