Russia's energy minister, Alexander Novak, said on Monday that the country is ready to cooperate with the U.S.to balance the oil market, after the two had a meeting last week to talk about boosting oil output to offset the shortfall from Iran.
US oil futures rose more than $1 a barrel on Wednesday, bolstered by a fifth weekly crude inventory drawdown and strong domestic gasoline demand, amid ongoing supply concerns over USA sanctions on Iran that come into force in November. Washington is pushing allies to cut imports of Iranian oil to zero and will impose a new round of sanctions on Iranian oil sales in November.
Brent crude futures were down 15 cents at $78.88 a barrel by 1116 GMT, having gained 1.3 per cent on Tuesday following media reports that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, was comfortable with prices above $80. "The impact on economic growth is slowly dripping in, which again hurts oil prices", Wang Xiao, head of crude research at Guotai Junan Futures, said on Tuesday.
Crude has mostly stayed below $70 a barrel since mid-July as a trade dispute between the US and China threaten global economic growth.
Oil futures rose more than 1 percent on Tuesday on signs that OPEC would not be prepared to raise output to address shrinking supplies from Iran, and as Saudi Arabia signaled an informal target near current levels.
USA crude inventories likely fell 2.5 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts.
The rally could stop and prices could turn lower if someone counters with concerns over future demand in the wake of the announcement of additional tariffs on China by the United States.
Oil prices were little changed on Monday as the market weighed deepening trade tension between the US and China that is expected to dent global crude demand and potential supply tightening due to Iran sanctions.
U.S. crude futures CLc1 were up $1.08 at $70.93 a barrel by 11:15 a.m. [1515 GMT], after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude and gasoline stockpiles fell last week.
Stockpiles of distillate fuels, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 1.5 million barrels, the API data showed, compared with expectations for a 651,000-barrel gain.
Iran is a "very important producer and exporter" of oil, the group's Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said at an event in the United Arab Emirates city of Fujairah.