Last week, citing high crude prices, U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet that he spoke to King Salman and explained to him that, because of the turmoil and dysfunction in Iran and Venezuela, he asked that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, to which the Saudi king agreed.
"Saudi Arabia's readiness to utilize its spare production capacity which is estimated at 2 million barrels could spell trouble for oil bulls down the road", Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM, told Arab News.
The White House later walked back the president's comments, saying the king had said his country could raise oil production if needed.
The quick drop after WTI reached US$75 might have been due to "a bout of long liquidation in front of the holiday", said Bill O'Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis.
But a flurry of USA announcements over the weekend unsettled oil markets.
The U.S. government is lobbying Iranian oil importers, including China and India, and "asking them to go to zero, absolutely yes", according to a U.S.
Trump is pressuring allies to stop buying Iranian oil as a tactic to make Iranian leaders negotiate a new nuclear deal, after he pulled out of the 2015 agreement two months ago.
He said in the Fox interview that European companies would face sanctions if they traded with Iran now.
On May 8, President Donald Trump officially withdrew the US from the UN-endorsed nuclear agreement and threatened Iran with worst sanctions. It also highlighted that the oil ministry's order to refiners "to prepare for drastic reduction or zero import of Iranian oil from November" was passed a day after United States ambassador to UN Nikki Haley visited India.
A survey of analyst expectations from S&P Global Platts revealed expectations of a drain on USA crude oil inventories of 4.5 million barrels last week, adding support to the concerns about a market deficit. He also said he and senior Treasury Department would visit Gulf states "in the coming days".
An Indian official says his country, which imports 400,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude, would only recognise multi-lateral sanctions, rather than unilateral sanctions.
Oil production, prices and politics require a delicate balance.
Saudi Arabia, which has been pumping around 10 million barrels per day, holds the largest spare capacity in the world and is the only country that can add substantial supply to the market.