Oil prices rise on signs Iranian oil exports are falling further in Oct

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UPDATE 1-Oil prices rise on signs Iranian oil exports are falling further in Oct

* Iran exports avg 1.33 mln bpd of crude in first two weeksof Oct

* Trump sends Pompeo to Saudi Arabia over missing Saudijournalist

* U.S. crude inventory likely to increase - Reuters poll (Adds comments, updates prices)

SEOUL, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Tuesday onsigns Iranian oil exports this month have fallen from Septemberahead of U.S. sanctions against Tehran that are set to start inNovember.

International benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 for Decemberdelivery rose 27 cents, or 0.33 percent, to $81.05 per barrel by0325 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 for Novemberdelivery was up 12 cents at $71.90 a barrel.

Iran has exported 1.33 million barrels per day (bpd) tocountries including India, China and Turkey in the first twoweeks of October, according to Refinitiv Eikon data. That wasdown from 1.6 million bpd in September, the data showed. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1WV2Y8

The October exports are a sharp drop from the 2.5 millionbpd exported in April before U.S. President Donald Trumpwithdrew from a multi-lateral nuclear deal with Iran in May andordered the re-imposition of economic sanctions on the country,the third-largest producer among the members of the Organizationof the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The sanctions on Iran's petroleum sector will go into effecton Nov. 4.

"Uncertainties will remain until Nov. 4 when it would beclear whether the United States would want to cut Iran oilexports to zero or grant waivers," said Vincent Hwang, commodityanalyst at NH Investment & Securities in Seoul.

"Brent prices are likely stay in the range of $80 a barrelor slightly higher, while WTI prices are likely to be $70-$75 abarrel," Hwang added.

Crude prices have also been supported by geopoliticaltensions caused by the disappearance of a Saudi Arabianjournalist in Turkey. Turkish official have alleged SaudiArabian intelligence officers killed the journalist JamalKhashoggi on Oct. 2 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nD5N1VR01Y

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened "severe punishment"for the kingdom if the journalist is found to have been killed.Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabiato meet with the country's leader King Salman. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N1WT06Burn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1WV2J2

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, has deniedthe allegation. Saudi Arabian officials said it would retaliateagainst any actions taken over the Khashoggi case.

With the world's only sizable spare oil output capacity,Saudi Arabia is expected to export more to offset the loss ofIranian oil supply from the sanctions.

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said onMonday at a conference in New Delhi that the kingdom iscommitted to meeting India's rising oil demand and is the "shockabsorber" for supply disruptions in the oil market. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1WV3LE

The country is preparing to admit to causing the death ofKhashoggi, according to CNN and New York Times reports onMonday.

"For now, concerns around the disappearance of a SaudiArabian national appear to be limited to the political sphere,"a Houston-based consultancy Stratas Advisors said in a note.

But WTI prices could fall in the back half of the week,weighed by an increase in U.S. crude inventories, the note said.

U.S. crude stockpiles were forecast to have risen for thefourth straight week by about 1.1 million barrels in the weekended Oct.12, according to a Reuters poll ahead of reports fromthe American Petroleum Institute (API) and the U.S. Departmentof Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA). urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1WV4M0

The API's data is due for publication at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030GMT) on Tuesday, and the EIA report is due at 10:30 a.m. EDT(1430 GMT) on Wednesday. (Reporting By Jane Chung; editing by Richard Pullin andChristian Schmollinger) ((jane.chung@thomsonreuters.com; +82 2 3704 5667; ReutersMessaging: jane.chung.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

This article appears in: Politics , Stocks , World Markets , Economy , Commodities

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