Oil prices declined sharply on Thursday ahead of the OPEC+ meeting, as the world’s biggest oil producers are under pressure to ramp up output while a positive outcome from the resumption of nuclear talks between the US and Iran could result in extra barrels on the market.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $81.88 per barrel at 0648 GMT for a 0.13% decrease after closing the previous session at $81.99 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $80.53 per barrel at the same time for a 0.40% drop after it ended the previous session at $80.86 a barrel.
Oil prices continued their downward trend after the US Energy Administration (EIA) announced a more-than-expected build in the crude oil inventories on Wednesday.
US commercial crude oil inventories increased by 3.3 million barrels to 434.1 million barrels, higher than the market expectation of a 1.65 million-barrel rise.
Prices further came under pressure after reports that the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six other nations would resume this month.
Ali Baqeri Kani, Iran's principal negotiator, announced that his administration had agreed to meet in Vienna on Nov. 29.
Iran and six other powers have been in talks since April to restore the 2015 nuclear deal that was terminated three years ago by former US President Donald Trump. His administration re-imposed sanctions that severely hampered Iran’s economy and drastically reduced its oil exports.
Although a slew of sanctions aimed at the energy industry in Iran was lifted on June 10, sanctions on oil exports are still in place.
Since the election of Iran's new hard-line president in June, talks have halted.
Investors are also monitoring a much-expected meeting of the OPEC+ countries later on Thursday. US President Joe Biden had put pressure on the group to increase output to cool off rising oil prices.
By Sibel Morrow