September 24, 2018 / 12:48 AM / in a month

Oil rises as markets tighten ahead of Iran sanctions

* U.S. crude inventories at lowest level since 2015

* Tighter U.S. market comes ahead of new Iran sanctions

* U.S. oil output, storage & drilling: tmsnrt.rs/2wc5wpr

By Henning Gloystein

SINGAPORE, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Monday as U.S. markets tightened just weeks ahead of Washington’s plan to impose new sanctions against Iran.

Brent crude futures were at $79.74 per barrel at 0036 GMT, up by 94 cents, or 1.2 percent.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose by 74 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $71.52 a barrel.

The market was “increasingly concerned about dwindling (U.S.) inventories,” ANZ bank said on Monday.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories C-STK-T-EIA are at their lowest level since early 2015. And while output C-OUT-T-EIA remains around the record of 11 million barrels per day (bpd), recent subdued U.S. drilling activity points towards a slowdown.

The tightening U.S. market came ahead of sanctions that Washington plans to implement against Iran’s petroleum exports from early November, which many analysts expect to result in a drop of more than 1 million bpd of crude exports.

The Middle East dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), of which Iran is a member, as well as top producer Russia are discussing raising output by 500,000 bpd to counter falling supply from Iran, although the discussions are not finalised.

Reporting by Henning Gloystein; editing by Richard Pullin

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