Gas prices are up and OPEC ‘doing little to help’

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Trading activity is expected to by limited on Wednesday due to the U.S. Independence Day holiday.

A fisherman rows his dinghy past oil refineries near port terminals in Singapore November 5, 2013.

On Tuesday, crude closed near 78 dollars per barrel, driven higher by a sharp drop in US inventories and the expectation of more drivers hitting the road for the July 4 holiday.

Production at Syncrude Canada's 360,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil sands facility near Fort McMurray, Alberta, was hit by a power outage last month and is likely to remain offline through July, helping drain US inventories.

You are hammering on good guys in OPEC.

On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that public listing preparations of state-run Saudi Aramco have stalled.

But, so far, that hasn't lowered oil prices, largely because of the turmoil caused by Venezuelan and Iranian oil sectors, as well Libya pulling hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil out of the market as a result of upheaval there.

Saudi Arabia has wanted to sell shares in Aramco to bring in foreign investment to diversify its economy, but legal concerns about listing in places like London or NY have presented complications.

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USA crude futures were up 32 cents at $74.46, within sight of Tuesday's 3-1/2-year high above $75.

Ardebili also noted that Trump is impolite in his rhetoric, and Middle Eastern producers never respond in the U.S. president's style.

Former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister on the outlook for oil prices.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 32.32 million bpd in June, a Reuters survey showed, up 320,000 bpd from May. "You impose sanctions on major producers, founders of OPEC, and yet you are asking them to reduce the prices?!" But the tougher US approach now makes the bank's analysts think that Iran's exports to Europe, Japan, and South Korea-a total of 1 million bpd-would "fall to minimal levels".

Barely a week after OPEC's decision to ramp up oil supplies, Trump surprised the world on Saturday by announcing a new side agreement with the Saudis to compensate for supply shortages from two crisis-hit producers, Iran and Venezuela.

"If they want to stop Iranian oil exports, we will not allow any oil shipment to pass through the Strait of Hormuz", Ismail Kowsari was quoted as saying.

"OPEC has not defined oil prices for the past 30 years", Kazempour continued.

The U.S. Navy stands ready to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce, a spokesman for the U.S. military's Central Command said.