Oil edged higher on Thursday, driven by the prospect of a shortfall in global supply once U.S. sanctions against major crude exporter Iran come into force in just five weeks’ time.
U.S. President Donald Trump this week demanded that OPEC raise production to prevent further price rises ahead of key congressional elections in early November.
Analysts say the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and partner Russia appear unlikely at this point to respond immediately to Trump’s demands, while U.S energy secretary Rick Perry has also ruled out using U.S. strategic crude reserves as a means of lowering the price.
The most-active December Brent crude futures contract LCOv1 was last up 23 cents at $81.02 a barrel at 1407 GMT, off the high for the day at $81.90 but still within sight of Tuesday’s four-year high of $82.55.
The front-month November contract expires on Friday.