Wednesday, 16 January, 2019


Sanctions and Opec's turnabout leave Iran scrambling for options

Crude Oil Crude Oil
Conrad Doyle | 02 July, 2018, 23:39

Oil-producing Gulf countries will be the main beneficiaries of a recent decision by Opec members to hike crude production by one million barrels per day, analysts said.

India, he said, is keeping its basket of imports open and will buy oil at competitive prices.

"Saudi Arabia does not really like going beyond 11 million barrels a day and has no intention of expanding its current production capacity".

"We expect Brent oil prices to average $73 per barrel in the second half of this year and $65 a barrel in 2019".

In an announcement from a senior State Department official, the USA recently told its allies to halt any Iranian oil imports from November onwards amidst the mounting tension between the country and Tehran, per The Telegraph.

President Donald Trump says he has received assurances from King Salman of Saudi Arabia that the kingdom will increase oil production, "maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels", in response to turmoil in Iran and Venezuela.

Enhancing production largely benefits Saudi Arabia as most other member countries are now pumping oil close to its capacity or losing output due to various reasons.

Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 was around $79 a barrel on Friday and a Reuters poll showed prices look to remain strong for the rest of this year due to supply disruptions in countries including Libya and Venezuela and the extra oil from OPEC fails to meet rising demand. "There is no way one country could go 2 million barrels a day above their production allocation unless they are walking out of OPEC", he said. "He has agreed!" read the tweet. Total's chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said last month that it was unthinkable for any global company to risk being excluded from the U.S. financial system - the penalty for buying Iranian crude beyond November 4.

In an early morning tweet, Trump said Saudi Arabia's expanded production would help offset a decline in supply from Iran, after the United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in May and moved to reimpose oil sanctions.

In North America, an outage at Canada's Syncrude has locked in more than 300,000 bpd of production, and operator Suncor Energy (SU.TO) said it will probably last at least through July.

A further 2 million barrel per day increase would put Saudi Arabia's oil output almost at its maximum of 12 million barrels per day, as measured by the International Energy Agency.

However, the recovery in momentum was gradual as the reduction in supplies due to OPEC led voluntary cut and unplanned supply disruption from Canada, Libya and Venezuela were virtually balanced by high United States shale output. That's up about 55 cents from the same period a year ago, at a time Trump's Republican Party is trying to hold on to its majorities in Congress in the November midterm elections.

The administration has threatened key allies such as South Korea with sanctions if they do not cut off Iranian imports by early November.

But the industry sources said India, the biggest buyer of Iranian oil after China, will be forced to take action to protect its exposure to the United States financial system.

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