The steadily rising tensions between the USA and Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the possibility of the Saudis reducing crude output in retaliation - which in turn would exacerbate a market already struggling to cope with shortfall from Iran - caused crude prices on Tuesday to rise again, albeit modestly.
State oil company Saudi Aramco plans to supply Indian buyers with an additional 4 million barrels of crude oil in November, several sources familiar with the matter said last week.
Meanwhile, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group, will release its weekly estimate of US crude inventories late Tuesday, while the EIA's more closely followed report will follow Wednesday morning.
Saudi Arabia is the second largest supplier of crude to the USA, with only Canada sending more.
Diplomatic tensions surrounding the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and fears Saudi Arabia could cut off its oil supply in retaliation had helped raise prices earlier this week.
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"I mean, it has the potential to really blow up and to send prices to numbers that I didn't think we'd see again in our lifetime".
Falih said oil prices would "easily be at the three digit range had it not been for the extra effort the kingdom has done over many years by investing in capacity and then unleashing that capacity, delivering barrels over last few months, reversing inventory draw down".
"While some countries have stopped buying oil from Iran, we have found new partners", he was quoted as saying by Iran's IRIB broadcaster on October 15. Analysts in a Bloomberg survey forecast government data to show a 2.5-million-barrel gain.
Inventory data from the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration is due on Wednesday. The market has been supported by reports that Iranian crude exports may be falling faster than expected ahead of November 4, the date USA sanctions on the commodity are due to start.
"The impact of the inventory-jump weighed on the market and oil seems bearish", said Kaname Gokon, a trader in Japan.
On Monday, officials in the government and oil companies said Indian firms like International Olympic Committee have optional volumes built in their annual crude oil purchase contracts with suppliers like Saudi Arabia and Iraq that will be more than enough to make up for any shortfall in supplies from sanction-hit Iran. On Tuesday, crude oil futures ended up $0.14, or 0.2%, at $71.92 a barrel.