Oil prices drop from recent highs despite concerns over Iran sanctions

Oil prices have dropped off recent highs this morning following a strong April rally as the US revealed a rising rig count last week, signalling increasing production.

Benchmark Brent crude was down 1.03 per cent to $73.87 a barrel while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were nearly one per cent lower at $67.46 a barrel.

On Friday, data from energy services firm Baker Hughes showed US drillers added five oil rigs in the week to 27 April, bringing the total rig count to 825, the highest level since March 2015.

Analysts at Accendo Markets said oil prices are now "unlikely to make any sudden large moves in the short-term unless we get another surprise build (or draw) in US oil stockpiles as we had the previous week".

Last week, Brent crude futures shot to a more than two-year high of over $75 a barrel amid speculation that the US could reimpose sanctions on Iran, which would reduce Iranian oil exports. US President Donald Trump must make a decision on the matter by 12 May.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (Opec) curbs on production have also helped boost prices, as has declining output from Venezuela's embattled oil sector.

Read more: BP expected to record a surge in first quarter profits

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