Friday, 21 September, 2018

Iran eyes private oil exports to help beat US sanctions

Mr Trump said that he had a fondness for the European Union because his parents were born there Mr Trump said that he had a fondness for the European Union because his parents were born there Credit SAUL LOEB AFP Getty Images
Lloyd Bates | 06 July, 2018, 04:42

Late last week, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh urged the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to prevent some of its members from increasing output without arriving at a consensus.

US President Donald Trump (center R) holds a lunch meeting with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (center L), and members of his delegation.

U.S. crude stockpiles rose 1.3 million barrels last week, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, against analysts' expectations of a 3.5 million-barrel decline.

The United States is willing to work with nations that are decreasing oil imports from Iran on case by case basis, US Department of State Director of Policy Planning Brian Hook told reporters, Sputnik reported.

"The Trump support base is probably the part of the US electorate that will be the most sensitive to an increase in USA gasoline prices", Halff said.

The statement said the kingdom will coordinate with other producers.

Further, the American Petroleum Institute (API) crude oil inventories data showed that the USA crude inventories fell by 4.5 million barrels to 416.9 million barrels in the week to June 29.

The Trump administration has on June 26 asked worldwide community to cut all imports of Iranian oil before November 4, when the USA re-imposes sanctions against that country.

While the White House later backpedalled from his assertion, Trump on Sunday compounded the pressure, demanding that OPEC stop what he called its manipulation of the oil market and insisting the group pump more.

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U.S. markets were jolted Tuesday morning as Crude Oil made a large downturn after touching $75 a barrel, a price not seen in four years. Both the administration and the Saudis later clarified the dialogue between the two sides, explaining that Saudi Arabia stated it has 2 Mbd of extra capacity to add global markets when necessary.

Saudi Arabia now produces some 10 million barrels of crude oil each day.

Trump's aim may be to exert maximum pressure on Iran while at the same time not upsetting potential USA midterm voters with higher gas prices, said Antoine Halff, a Columbia University researcher and former chief oil analyst for the International Energy Agency.

OPEC's oil production in June increased by 320,000 bpd from May to stand at 32.32 million bpd, as the cartel's biggest producer Saudi Arabia produced close-to-record volumes, according to a monthly Reuters survey tracking oil supply to the market. But those moves may be tempered by an equal desire by the U.S. and other country for stable oil prices.

China is the largest importer of Iranian oil with 24 percent, followed by India with 18 percent.

Thus, collectively all countries should raise production by 1 mln barrels per day.

Last week, a senior US State Department official described tightening the noose on Tehran as "one of our top national security priorities".

Some major importers of Iranian crude have sent mixed signals on their willingness to abide United States sanctions, particularly as inventories remain low.

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