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Saudi Arabia is the second largest supplier of crude to the USA, with only Canada sending more.

"India is projected to see the largest additional oil demand (3.7% per annum) and the fastest growth in the period to 2040", said Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, secretary general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

"We don't expect the Kingdom to be as accommodative to the White House requests for stronger production", he said, adding that the Saudis could cut as much as 500,000 barrels per day of production "as a warning shot should the USA opt to impose any type of sanction in response to the Khashoggi developments".

'You cannot keep the price low with slogans and intimidation, ' considered Zanganeh.

The U.S. administration has been pushing its allies to cut Iranian oil imports and encouraging Saudi Arabia, other OPEC states and Russian Federation to pump more oil to meet any shortfall.

South Korean Ambassador to Tehran Ryu Jeong-hyun says companies in his country understand the significance of the Iranian market and will not leave it under the USA sanctions.

India imported 5.67 MT oil from Iran during the quarter. "Market watchers are reminding us that the Kingdom has the ability to send oil prices to $150 to $200-even if it is not acted upon, the fact that Saudi Arabia's threat is credible should be sounding alarm bells in Washington that our oil dependence continues to constrain our foreign policy and undermine our economic sovereignty". In April, prior to President Trump's announcement of the US withdrawal from the multi-lateral nuclear deal with Iran, Iran exported 2.5 million bpd. The state-owned company set official selling prices for its light and heavier grades at the widest discount to rival Saudi Arabia's supply in data going back to 2000.

The Iranian official, in turn, said the Islamic Republic expects South Korea as one of its key business partners to continue its operation in Iran in the situation created by the United States sanctions.

Inventories rose sharply even as USA crude production slipped 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 10.9 million bpd last week due to the effects of offshore facilities closing temporarily for Hurricane Michael. Iran has exported 1.33 million barrels per day (bpd) to a few countries including India and China in the first two weeks of October, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

NIOC head Ali Kardor said U.S. President Donald Trump had been trying to reduce Iran's oil exports for months. "Saudi Aramco's desire is also to invest in consumer-facing segments such as retail fuels and petrochemicals, building an integrated downstream business spanning India as well as our commitment to invest in crude oil storage here in India in order to be more responsive and closer to the demand needs".