OPEC chief: Group must stay together as US sanctions Iran

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo speaks with the media. (Reuters)
Updated 18 September 2018
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OPEC chief: Group must stay together as US sanctions Iran

  • Production cut agreement now a "permanent feature"
  • Brent already near $80 per barrel

FUJAIRAH: OPEC must stick together for the good of the global economy as founding member Iran faces renewed US sanctions, the head of the group said Tuesday — though he did not address how an already-tight market will make up for the loss of Iranian supply.
Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo also said an agreement between OPEC and non-members that cut production and helped bring prices back up from lows of $30 a barrel in January 2016 was now “a permanent feature.”
Cementing that arrangement would be one of the topics of discussion as OPEC meets this Sunday in Algeria, he added.
Still, OPEC will face rising anger from Iran, which feels increasingly under pressure after President Donald Trump pulled out of the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May.
Crushing US oil sanctions on Iran will resume in early November and already, American allies in Asia are cutting back on their purchases of Iranian crude.
The US moves have gotten furious reactions from Iran, especially amid talk of American officials asking Russia and Saudi Arabia to make up the difference.
“Mr. Trump’s attempt to prevent Iran from appearing on the global crude oil markets has allowed Russia and Saudi Arabia, which would not favor low prices, to pursue hostage-taking policies in the market,” Iranian OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said on Saturday.
Barkindo said: “Iran is not only a founding member of OPEC, it’s a very important member of this organization. We have no choice but continue to work with all parties.”
Benchmark Brent crude already is nearing $80 a barrel and analysts believe it may go even higher as production remains low. A loss of Iranian supply likely will further drive up prices.
Trump, facing midterm elections in the US, already has called for more oil production from Saudi Arabia and OPEC to bring down prices with limited effect. A gallon of regular gasoline costs on average $2.85 in the US, up from $2.62 a year ago, according to AAA.
Barkindo praised the agreement between OPEC and non-members that cut production and said the cartel would work to make it permanent.
“The declaration of cooperation has come to stay,” he said.


Oil prices rise on signs Iranian oil exports are falling further

Updated 16 October 2018
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Oil prices rise on signs Iranian oil exports are falling further

SEOUL: Oil prices rose on Tuesday on signs Iranian oil exports this month have fallen from September ahead of US sanctions against Tehran that are set to start in November.
International benchmark Brent crude for December delivery rose 27 cents, or 0.33 percent, to $81.05 per barrel by 0325 GMT.
US West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery was up 12 cents at $71.90 a barrel.
Iran has exported 1.33 million barrels per day (bpd) to countries including India, China and Turkey in the first two weeks of October, according to Refinitiv Eikon data. That was down from 1.6 million bpd in September, the data showed.
The October exports are a sharp drop from the 2.5 million bpd exported in April before US President Donald Trump withdrew from a multi-lateral nuclear deal with Iran in May and ordered the re-imposition of economic sanctions on the country, the third-largest producer among the members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The sanctions on Iran’s petroleum sector will go into effect on November 4.
“Uncertainties will remain until Nov. 4 when it would be clear whether the United States would want to cut Iran oil exports to zero or grant waivers,” said Vincent Hwang, commodity analyst at NH Investment & Securities in Seoul.
“Brent prices are likely stay in the range of $80 a barrel or slightly higher, while WTI prices are likely to be $70-$75 a barrel,” Hwang added.
With the world’s only sizable spare oil output capacity, Saudi Arabia is expected to export more to offset the loss of Iranian oil supply from the sanctions.
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Monday at a conference in New Delhi that the kingdom is committed to meeting India’s rising oil demand and is the “shock absorber” for supply disruptions in the oil market.
US crude stockpiles were forecast to have risen for the fourth straight week by about 1.1 million barrels in the week ended October 12, according to a Reuters poll ahead of reports from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The API’s data is due for publication at 4:30pm on Tuesday, and the EIA report is due at 10:30am on Wednesday.