Iran's oil minister has hit back at Trump over production demands
11 July, 2018, 16:16
Iran's Opec governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili was quoted in June as saying that oil prices could jump to $140 a barrel due to the U.S. sanctions against the country and Venezuela.
President Trump's response has been to demand that OPEC boost its oil production by two million barrels per day to calm markets and bring prices down.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said the tension between Iran and the United States is a "trade war", adding that Iranian output and exports had not changed as a result of U.S. pressure. But if anything, Trump's bluntness is refreshing: if, as he suggests, the goal of the United States military - with a yearly total budget of a trillion dollars - is to protect OPEC members in exchange for "cheap oil", how cheap is that oil?
The president is right that oil prices are rising, and he's partly correct that OPEC is "doing little to help", insofar as OPEC isn't producing enough oil to cope up with market demand.
This has had traders anxious that the market is in for a shortage, which will cause prices to jump even higher, with some forecasting Brent at over US$100 a barrel.
Think your friends would be interested? Two other sources also said South Korea cancelled July loadings of crude and condensate cargoes from Iran as it was uncertain whether they can receive an exemption from USA sanctions on Iran trade.
The move is part of Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, which previously eased economic penalties on the country as long as it curbed its nuclear weapons program.
Iran, OPEC's third-largest producer, is facing U.S. sanctions on its oil exports prompting some buyers to cut purchases.
"Iran's oil will not lose its customers because a lot of companies are buying oil from the country", said Moayyed Hosseini Sadr, the ministry advisor.
Now, President Trump is threatening sanctions against any country that continues to do business with Iran.
He added that 1.2 million Iranian barrels a day were off the market the last time Iran was sanctioned, but that was possible because USA shale drilling was growing at a rapid pace, demand was lower and Libyan output had come back to the market to make up for some of the Iranian output. The US has directed all countries to stop all their oil imports from Iran by November 4 in a bid to isolate Iran's funding channels. "South Korea overall is lifting zero oil (from Iran) for July loading".
South Korean refiners have since curtailed their Iranian oil purchases and turned to alternative sources such as American and African crude due to expensive Middle East grades and uncertainty over trade with Iran.
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