Oil steady above $71 on Iran concern, ahead of OPEC
(Reuters) - Oil prices held above $71 on Tuesday, as a dispute between Iran and the West over Tehran's nuclear program rumbled on and OPEC delegates said the cartel would keep pumping at near maximum rates to soothe market fears.
U.S. crude for July delivery was trading up 12 cents at $71.49 a barrel by 0655 GMT, after a high of $71.77. London Brent crude traded 9 cents higher at $70.68, after both markets were closed on Monday for holidays, reports Trend.
"The gains are a little surprising but people are looking at Iran and waiting for the big OPEC meeting," said Tetsu Emori, chief commodities strategist at Mitsui Bussan Futures in Tokyo.
OPEC President Edmund Daukoru told Reuters on Monday the cartel will probably keep output quotas unchanged at its meeting in Caracas on Thursday and keep pumping as much as it can, as it seeks to avoid high prices spurring investment in alternatives.
Despite high production from the cartel, which controls about half of world oil exports, traders are worried that a stand-off between OPEC-member Iran and the West could lead to supply disruptions from the world's fourth-biggest exporter.
Iran said on Monday it had no intention of moving all its uranium enrichment work to Russia to allay fears it could use nuclear fuel technology to make atomic bombs.
The United States is pushing Europe and Japan to use broad sanctions to financially pressure Iran if diplomacy fails to resolve the nuclear dispute, the Washington Post reported on Monday.
World powers were expected to meet this week in Europe to complete work on a package of incentives and sanctions.