A pump jack is seen at sunset near Midland, Texas, U.S., on May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Ernest Scheyder
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The relationship between two major oil benchmarks is charting an unexpected course as U.S. sanctions take Iranian crude out of the market.It's weakening against London's Brent – an oil grade with very different chemical characteristics that's used to price barrels from Europe to Africa.Prices are up about 40 percent in the past year and are near $80 a barrel.Dubai has traditionally been the benchmark for such supply.The London crude's premium, as measured by exchange of futures for swaps, has almost doubled to near $3.50 a barrel over the last month, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd.Export SlumpIn the first two weeks of September, Iran sold an average 1.6 million barrels a day of crude oil, down from 2.5 million barrels a day in April, according to Bloomberg tanker tracking.
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