Crude oil futures stable on Russian data ahead of United States stocks report

A man puts gas in his car at a Shell filling station in Tokyo Friday Nov. 28 2014

US drillers added oil rigs for the first time in three weeks, increasing the rig count by 2 to 862.

Oil prices rallied on Tuesday to hit the highest level in nearly two months after the evacuation of two Anadarko (NYSE:APC) platforms in the Gulf of Mexico amid a looming tropical storm.

The Brent crude oil - the worldwide benchmark for oil prices - was trading at $78.01 per barrel, however, closed trading at $79.38 per barrel.

Local refiners are finding it increasingly hard to maintain their Iranian oil imports without USA exemptions, as the companies will need to halt imports and clear transactions before the sanctions snap back on November 5. "So we are looking at both sides of this discussion", Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy told CNBC's Hadley Gamble Monday. Five Chinese companies including state-run Chinaoil, Unipec, CNPC Fuel Oil and Zhenhua Oil, along with a private trader, delivered crude against the September contract, marking its first physical settlement event.

Anadarko Petroleum said on Monday it had evacuated and shut production at two oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of the approach of Gordon, which is expected to come ashore as a hurricane.

Yesterday, WTI ended the day slightly higher while Brent crude traded at highs last seen in July earlier this year.

Global oil markets have tightened over the past month, pushing Brent prices up by more than 10% since the middle of August. With investors anticipating less supply from Iran due to upcoming US sanctions, and Libya and Venezuela producing far-less than expected, the markets remain vulnerable to unexpected supply disruptions.

India's move follows China, which too continues buying Iranian crude, relying on vessels owned by National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC).

According to the news report by Reuters, the week started with the price of oil gaining due to concerns that the reduced output from Iran once the United States sanctions kick in are going to tighten the markets.

"The prospects of increased supplies from OPEC and her allies, and weaker demand from China and other emerging markets could weigh further on oil prices going forward, or at least limit the upside potential", said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at futures brokerage Forex. The shift comes as Iran's oil exports are shrinking, with key buyers in Asia taking fewer cargoes weeks before US-imposed sanctions take full effect.

Iran suffered the biggest output drop across the group, of 240,000 barrels a day, pushing its production down to 3.5 million barrels a day. The bank also said it expects Brent to average at $75 per barrel, a huge jump from its prior prediction of $55 per barrel.

In comments reported by Iran's Tasnim News Agency, Araqchi said on Tuesday that the European parties to the Iranian nuclear deal have until November 4 to "fulfill their pledges" to offset the impact of the USA sanctions.

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