Brent crude lower on strong Middle East oil output

Brent crude prices fell on Tuesday on rising output from the Middle East and ahead of an OPEC meeting on Thursday, while U.S. crude edged higher as the summer driving season began.

Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were down 26 cents at $49.50 a barrel by 1056 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures CLc1 traded 9 cents higher at $49.42 a barrel.

Iraq will supply 5 million barrels of extra crude to its international oil company partners in June, industry sources familiar with the issue said, joining other Middle East producers by lifting market share.

Iraq, the second-largest producer in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, had already been targeting record crude export volumes from southern terminals next month of 3.47 million barrels per day.

Asian imports of Iranian oil rose more than 13 percent in April from a year before as Tehran vies to recoup market share lost under international sanctions.

OPEC’s 13 members will meet in Vienna to set the group’s policy, which is expected to focus more on market share than on influencing prices.

“Anyone betting on a surprise outcome in Thursday’s meeting is brave in doing so,” Vienna-based JBC Energy said in a note on Tuesday.
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