US exempts Chabahar port-related activities from its sanctions

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On the other hand, the weekly report published by the EIA yesterday showed that crude oil stocks in the US rose 5.8 million barrels and the output increased to 11.6 million barrels.

Seoul's Foreign Affairs Ministry says the decision means South Korea will be able to maintain a stable supply level of Iranian condensate, or ultralight oil.

"After extensive consideration, the Secretary (of State) has provided for an exception from imposition of certain sanctions under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012, with respect to the development of Chabahar Port, construction of an associated railway and for shipment of non-sanctionable goods through the port for Afghanistan's use, as well as the country's continued imports of Iranian petroleum products", a US State Department spokesperson was quoted as saying by PTI.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $61.69 per barrel at 0221 GMT, 2 cents above their last settlement. Brent Crude was also down, 0.86 percent at $71.45.

Meanwhile, US crude inventories rose by 5.8 million barrels in the week ending November 2, to 431.79 million barrels, the EIA said.

Worldwide oil customers should brace for pain as USA sanctions on Iran take hold, the Islamic Republic's oil minister has warned, arguing that waivers Washington granted to eight major oil-importing countries are not enough to keep global markets stable.

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The United States "sincerely hopes" accidents do not occur, he said, but he noted that an Iranian tanker was involved in a major accident in the East China Sea in January that resulted in the loss of the ship and all its crew as well as a massive oil spill. The move higher in production was a large jump, not just a tick, Yawger said.

In the week ending November, the USA crude production hit a whopping 11.6 million bpd, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released on Wednesday.

USA sanctions had been lifted under the auspices of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or, more simply, the Iran nuclear deal) negotiated by the Obama administration along with China, France, Russia, the U.K., Germany, and the European Union. Waivers granted to the sanctions intensify the market's perception that sanctions may not limit crude supply as much as initially expected.

Some market watchers believe the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russian Federation may take steps to reduce supply.

"Sentiment has shifted", said Bart Melek, head of global commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto.

The OPEC source was responding to a report by Russia's TASS news agency that Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia had started bilateral discussions over possible curbs to output in 2019.