Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Iran downplays impact of US sanction threats

US President Donald Trump has been pressuring OPEC and in particular Saudi Arabia to ramp up output by as much as 2 million barrels a day US President Donald Trump has been pressuring OPEC and in particular Saudi Arabia to ramp up output by as much as 2 million barrels a day
Russell Knight | 11 July, 2018, 15:41

"If the USA government were to relax regulations on offshore oil resources and expedite having companies develop oil resources that are on federal land, then the US would not almost be as dependent on OPEC as it now is", says Robert Murphy, an economist at the Institute for Energy Research.

However, if the United States keeps pressures to ban Iran's crude sales, "it would disrupt OPEC plans because Iran produces five percent of the world total oil output and this is a significant amount", he added.

Libya's national oil production fell to 527,000 barrels per day from a high of 1.28 million bpd in February following recent oil port closures, the head of the National Oil Corporation said in a statement on Monday.

Venezuela, which has enormous reserves but is also suffering under, among other problems, crippling U.S. sanctions, is shrinking out of the world oil market.

Iran's petroleum minister said that "political issues should not interfere in the crude market, and supply and demand should determine the final oil price".

Saudi Arabia, fellow members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russian Federation agreed last month to increase output to dampen price gains and offset global production losses in countries including Libya. So much can change in oil markets in the course of a few weeks. At the time, Saudi Arabia's Khalid al-Falih said the number was "nominal" since not all OPEC members had the spare capacity to boost production.

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During an interview with state television, Zanganeh on Saturday accused US President Donald Trump of insulting Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) by ordering it to increase production and reduce prices.

But according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the kingdom has not produced more than 10.42 million bpd on an annual basis (2016) or 10.63 million bpd in a single month (July 2016) in the last 20 years.

Boosting production this way might risk a decline in oilfield pressure that could result in long-term damage to the reservoirs.

Most of the remaining inventories are required for operational reasons, including as feedstock for the country's growing refinery capacity, as well as ensuring smooth flow of oil from the fields onto tankers. Saudi Arabia has stated it has spare capacity of 2 million bpd, but bringing it back online-if it is indeed so large-will take more than a day or two, analysts have warned.

"It appears the oil market has little confidence that Iran volumes can be easily replaced", the analysts wrote.

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