Oil futures lost ground Thursday, with nervousness over the potential return of Iranian crude supply keeping a lid on the market.
West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery
the global benchmark, lost 70 cents, or 1%, to trade at $68.03 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Crude remains stuck in a trading range this week, with support tied to signs of good demand ahead of the kickoff of the U.S. summer driving season this weekend.
At 9.5 million barrels a day, U.S. gasoline demand is only a shade below the usual level for this time of year, said Eugen Weinberg, analyst at Commerzbank, in a note.
But upside has been limited by jitters over the potential return of Iranian supply as indirect talks aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resume after the last round of negotiations saw progress.
For the market, “the nuclear agreement with and the U.S. sanctions against Iran will continue to tip the scales, as they will determine whether Iranian oil exports return to the market,” Weinberg wrote.