"The focus for now remains on the waivers issued to eight countries, allowing them to continue the purchase of Iranian barrels temporarily", said Stephen Innes, Singapore-based head of trading for Asia Pacific at Oanda Corp.
Oil prices were stable on Thursday, supported by rumblings from within OPEC that production curbs may become necessary again to prevent a return of global oversupply.
In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan inked a pact which entailed establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs for sea transportation in Iran, besides multi-modal transport of goods and passengers across the three nations. There's also the risk of antagonising the kingdom's key geopolitical ally, US President Donald Trump. Now, with the U.S. midterm elections over and crude futures wilting in the face of another historic shale oil surge, the cartel will discuss a change of course this weekend.
Brian Hook, the State Department's special representative on Iran policy, said that the U.S. sanctions extended to insurers and underwriters.
Saudi Arabia and other producers gathering in Abu Dhabi this weekend face a worrying prospect: Even though USA sanctions on Iran are removing significant amounts of crude from world markets, a fresh surge of American shale oil threatens to unleash a new surplus in 2019. "Mr. Trump's administration must understand that its anti-Iran policies won't bear fruit and therefore have to be changed", Zarif said.
The State Department reminded the global shipping and insurance industries Wednesday that as part of the Trump administration's "maximum pressure campaign" to get Iran to change its behavior, insuring Iranian tankers will now incur penalties under US sanctions reinstated this week.
Shale has plenty of potential to surprise. The Energy Information Administration just increased its 2019 production forecast by 300,000 barrels a day to 12.06 million.
Then there are political considerations.
A ministerial committee of some OPEC members and allies will on Sunday meet in Abu Dhabi to discuss the market and outlook for 2019.
In response to USA sanctions, Iran and its trade partners have been negotiating the reduction of the U.S. dollar's share in mutual trade.
The Saudis may also struggle to persuade the rest of OPEC to back a deal pledging production cuts.
Russia, the most important non-Opec partner in the coalition, has ramped up output to a post-Soviet record and President Vladimir Putin has said he's comfortable with prices in a $65 to $75 a range, giving some downside from the current level of $72 in London. Others may have grown tired of having their production policy steered by the kingdom.
He said that the United States, whose military patrols the Gulf and is allied with Iran's rival Saudi Arabia, did not want incidents. "They have over-balanced the market", and have no choice but to cut by about 1 million barrels a day, he said.