Oil steady on lower Iran exports, rising US supply

A pump jack operates in the Permian Basin oil production area near Wink, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 29 August 2018
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Oil steady on lower Iran exports, rising US supply

  • Iran’s crude oil and condensate exports in August are set to drop below 70 million barrels for the first time since April 2017
  • Bowing to pressure from Washington, many crude buyers have already reduced orders from Iran

LONDON: Oil prices steadied on Wednesday, supported by news of a fall in Iranian crude supplies as US sanctions deter buyers, but held back by evidence of a rise in US inventories.
Benchmark Brent crude oil was unchanged at $75.95 a barrel by 0905 GMT. US light crude was 5 cents higher at $68.58 a barrel.
Iran’s crude oil and condensate exports in August are set to drop below 70 million barrels for the first time since April 2017, well ahead of the Nov. 4 start date for a second round of US economic sanctions, preliminary trade flows data on Thomson Reuters Eikon show.
Bowing to pressure from Washington, many crude buyers have already reduced orders from Iran, OPEC’s third-biggest producer.
Although Tehran is offering steep discounts, Iran’s August crude oil and condensate loadings are estimated at 2.06 million bpd, versus a peak of 3.09 million bpd in April.
“US sanctions toward Iran are now increasingly kicking in which will help to dry up the physical crude oil market,” said SEB Markets commodities analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.
US crude inventories rose by 38,000 barrels to 405.7 million barrels in the week to Aug. 24, the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday.
Official US fuel inventory and crude production data will be published later on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Traders said reports of potential investment in Venezuela’s struggling oil production also affected markets. Venezuelan crude exports have halved since 2016 to below 1 million barrels per day (bpd).
To stem tumbling output, Venezuelan state-run oil firm PDVSA said on Tuesday it had signed a $430 million investment agreement to increase production by 640,000 bpd at 14 oilfields, although some analysts doubted whether this investment would go through given the instability in the country.
Despite the risk of disruption, especially from OPEC-countries like Venezuela, Iran, Libya and Nigeria, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said global supply could climb toward the end of the year.
“Heading into 4Q18, we expect rising non-OPEC oil production as supply outages abate and greenfield projects ramp up,” the US bank said. “Non-OPEC supply outages are at a 15-month high of 730,000 bpd. However, nearly half of these volumes are in the process of being restored.”
Adding to that will be new production in Canada, Brazil and the United States, which the bank said “should provide a substantial boost to non-OPEC supplies” during the second half of the year “taming upside pressures on Brent crude oil prices.”


UAE indicates full compliance with US sanctions on Iran

Updated 19 November 2018
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UAE indicates full compliance with US sanctions on Iran

  • The US announced on Nov. 5 a series of sanctions targeting Iran’s banks, shipping sector, national airline and 200 individuals
  • UAE’s trade with Iran, which is expected to decline further, fell to $17 billion in 2017 from a peak of $20 billion in 2013

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates is fully complying with sanctions imposed this month by the United States on Iran even though it will mean a further drop in trade with Tehran, said a UAE economy ministry official.

Abu Dhabi, the political capital of the UAE federation, has taken a tough stand on Tehran, although Dubai, the country’s business hub, has traditionally been a major trading partner with Iran.

Washington announced on Nov. 5 a series of sanctions targeting Iran’s banks, shipping sector, national airline and 200 individuals after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of an international nuclear deal with Tehran.

“We are implementing the sanctions,” Abdullah Al-Saleh, undersecretary for foreign trade and industry, said in an interview in Dubai.

 

The UAE is enforcing the US sanction regime “as it is published by the United States,” Al-Saleh said, adding that the relevant authorities would ensure compliance.

Al-Saleh said the UAE’s trade with Iran is expected to decline this year and next year due to the sanctions, after falling to $17 billion in 2017 from a peak of $20 billion in 2013.

Most trade consists of re-exports via Dubai to Iran, which lies across the Gulf.

The sanctions are part of a wider effort by the Trump administration to diminish Iranian influence in the Middle East.

The UAE is among US allies in the Gulf region that staunchly oppose Iranian foreign policy and swiftly backed Washington’s decision. It is also a member of a coalition that is opposing the Iran-aligned Houthi group in Yemen’s civil war.

Compliance will mean UAE companies do not face difficulties in the United States, and the UAE government will look to boost trade with other markets such as Africa and Asia to offset the impact of the sanctions on its own economy, Al-Saleh said, repeating an existing government policy to diversify trade.

Trump’s administration has threatened those who continue to do business with Iran with the prospect of losing access to the US market, although it has given temporary exemptions to eight importing countries to keep buying Iranian oil.

The European Union, France, Germany and Britain, which are trying to save the nuclear deal, have said they regret the US decision and will seek to protect European companies doing legitimate business with Tehran.

FACTOID

The US has given temporary exemptions to eight importing countries to keep buying Iranian oil.