Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS
Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS

Washington — On Thursday, US President Donald Trump issued a fresh call on the oil cartel Opec to lower crude prices, saying the US is providing Middle Eastern energy giants with security.

"We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices!" he tweeted. "We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!"

Trump has previously called for members of Opec — primarily cartel kingpin and US ally Saudi Arabia — to raise their production, and warned importers to stop buying oil from Iran or face US sanctions. Two of Opec's founding members, Iran and Venezuela, are under sanctions from Washington.

A new set of US sanctions is due to hit the Islamic republic's oil industry on November 4.

Output from Iran has hit its lowest level since July 2016, according to the International Energy Agency (EIA), as top buyers India and China have distanced themselves from Tehran.

In 2016, major producers both within and outside Opec agreed to slash production in an attempt to boost prices following the 2014 oil market crash.