Oil futures edged lower on Wednesday amid speculation that a last-minute deal over Iran’s nuclear program 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 program 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.