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US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 32 cents, or 0.46 percent, to $68.59 per barrel.

"It will be no easy feat for Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation to balance declining production from Iran and Venezuela", said Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy in London, Reuters reported.

OPEC must stick together for the good of the global economy as founding member Iran faces renewed USA sanctions, the head of the cartel said Tuesday - though he did not address how an already-tight market will make up for the loss of Iranian supply. Barkindo said a "permanent" framework of cooperation between the 14 OPEC members and 11 non-OPEC oil states, including the world´s top producer Russian Federation, was expected in December.

But supporting crude futures were potential supply cuts from United States sanctions on Iran.

Data from the InterContinental Exchange showed open interest in calls that give the owner the right to buy Brent futures at $80 and $85 by next week grew by almost 45 percent on Monday and Tuesday to an equivalent of 54 million barrels of oil.

Reuters reported on September 5 that Saudi Arabia wanted oil to stay between $70 and $80 to keep a balance between maximising revenue and keeping a lid on prices until US congressional elections.

While Iran's exports have moved in Trump's favor, the president faces the predicament of wanting oil prices to come down before USA midterm elections on November 6.

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According to reports, Iran's crude exports are already falling as the US prepares to curb Tehran's ability to sell oil and participate in global financial markets.

There are signs, however, that Saudi Arabian exports did not increase in July.

USA crude inventories rose by 1.2 million barrels to 397.1 million in the week to Sept 14, according to data released on Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API).

The EIA projects that OPEC net oil export revenues will increase to US$736 billion in 2018, up 30% from 2017.

Stockpiles of distillate fuels, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 1.5 million barrels, the API data showed, compared with expectations for a 651,000-barrel gain.

Official inventory data from the US Energy Information Administration will be released on Wednesday.

"Overnight chatter suggests that the Saudis are more than happy with a Brent price above $80 or that OPEC, more generally, is not considering raising output".


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