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Health workers gather to form a human chain reading 'SOS' during a protest in Venezuela. Photo: Federico Parra/AFP via Getty Images

The International Energy Agency said Thursday that the global crude market is entering a "very crucial period" as U.S. sanctions against Iran loom and the country's exports have already dropped. Oh, and Venezuela is still collapsing.

The big picture: There's certainly enough crude from elsewhere sloshing around right now.

  • OPEC supplies actually hit a 9-month high of 32.6 million barrels per day last month, and the ramp-up "outweighed a substantial reduction in Iran and a further fall in Venezuela," IEA said in its monthly oil market report.
  • In fact, global supplies hit a record 100 million barrels per day in August.

Yes, but: The Paris-based agency still sees the market "tightening up." And there are uncertainties about where additional barrels will come from if Venezuela and Iranian supplies keep falling as expected.

  • OPEC countries have a combined 2.7 million barrels per day in spare capacity, but it's unclear how much is readily available.
  • Brazilian production has not grown as much as expected.
  • U.S. production is growing (more on that below), but infrastructure constraints could limit how much companies can boost output beyond existing plans.
  • Libyan production has been up lately, but it's a fragile place.

The bottom line: Things could get rocky and oil prices, which for Brent have been in the $70–$80 range since April, could be "tested." IEA states:

"The situation in Venezuela could deteriorate even faster, strife could return to Libya and the 53 days to 4 November will reveal more decisions taken by countries and companies with respect to Iranian oil purchases. It remains to be seen if other producers decide to increase their production."

State of the market: Traders seem to be responding to the currently robust supply picture. Per MarketWatch:

"Oil futures fell in early Thursday trade as a report showed production among OPEC members surged in August, pushing global inventories to a record."

Go deeper: Reuters breaks down the IEA report in detail here.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.