Oil prices edge lower as Iran talks extend beyond deadline – Reuters

* Iran nuclear talks extend beyond Tuesday deadline

* Russia says agreement reached over all key aspects

* OPEC supply jumped in March to highest since October

By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen

SINGAPORE, April 1 (Reuters) – Oil futures edged lower on
Wednesday amid speculation that a last-minute deal over Iran’s
nuclear programme would be reached that could allow more Iranian
crude onto world markets.

Talks between Iran and six world powers to settle a dispute
around Tehran’s nuclear programme extended beyond a Tuesday
deadline, as the parties edged towards a deal but failed to
agree to crucial details such as the lifting of U.N. sanctions.

Efforts to reach a framework deal were scheduled to continue
on Wednesday in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a general
agreement had been reached over all key aspects of a future
deal, TASS news agency quoted him as saying. A diplomat,
speaking on condition of anonymity, later denied that an
agreement had been reached.

Talks had appeared to bog down, after the United States
warned that it was ready to abandon the talks altogether and
Iran affirmed its “nuclear rights”, with officials cautioning
any agreement would probably be fragile and incomplete,

“Whether or not there is an Iranian nuclear deal, we do not
expect a flood of oil into the market as a consequence,” head of
commodity markets strategy and oil strategy at BNP Paribas,
Harry Tchilinguirian, told Reuters Global Oil Forum.

“Which sanctions will be lifted and the uncertainty in the
timing of lifting suggest that Iran will not be in position to
significantly add to the current oversupply in the market,” he

Brent crude for May delivery was down 8 cents at
$55.03 a barrel by 0201 GMT, after settling down $1.18 on
Tuesday. The contract had fallen 8 percent over the last week
amid expectations of a nuclear deal.

U.S. crude for May delivery was trading 25 cents
lower at $47.35 a barrel, after settling down $1.08.

Higher OPEC supply also put pressure on oil prices, after a
Reuters survey showed the oil cartel increased supply in March
to its highest since October as Iraq’s exports rebounded after
bad weather and Saudi Arabia pumped at close to record rates.

Higher Libyan exports could also add to a glut on world
markets, after the state oil company said Libya two biggest oil
ports, Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, will be able to open once
security checks are made.

(Reporting By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Michael


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