By Stephanie Kelly
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil futures rose on Wednesday, with Brent reaching $80 a barrel, after a larger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude inventories and as U.S. sanctions on Iran added to concerns over global oil supply.
Benchmark Brent crude futures rose 47 cents to $79.53 a barrel, by 12:49 p.m. EDT (1649 GMT). The global benchmark earlier reached $80.13 a barrel, its highest since May 22.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 93 cents to $70.18 a barrel, a one-week high.
Since spring, when the Trump Administration said it would impose sanctions on Iran, traders have been focusing on the impact they could have on global supply. The sanctions will target Iran's oil exports from November.
"Iran is increasingly becoming the preoccupation of the crude market. The last couple of weeks have seen the expected squeeze on Iranian crude flows taking shape, with overall outflows down markedly," consultant JBC Energy said.
"This is a huge uncertainty on the market - how countries, which buy almost 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian oil, will act. The situation should be closely watched, the right decisions should be taken," he said.
Novak said global oil markets were "fragile" due to geopolitical risks and supply disruptions, but added his country could raise output if needed.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cut its forecast for oil demand growth in 2019 in its monthly report and said rising challenges in some emerging and developing countries could negatively impact global economic growth.
OPEC said it expected demand growth of 1.41 million bpd in 2019, a 20,000-bpd downgrade from its previous forecast.
Crude output will not be affected by the massive storm, but the evacuation of more than a million residents, as well as businesses, has prompted a near-term spike in fuel demand.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)