Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Return to oil production cuts in 2019 can not be ruled out - OPEC

A Chinese vessel approaching beleaguered Iranian tanker Sanchi to help extinguish a fire that started after it collided with a Chinese vessel off China's shores India gets US waiver for development of strategic Chabahar Port in Iran
Patty Aguilar | 09 November, 2018, 14:20

Brian Hook, the special US representative for Iran, said that as major insurers withdraw coverage from Iranian vessels, Iran will likely turn to domestic insurance companies that will not be able to cover losses for maritime accidents that could run into the billions of dollars.

For the Iranians, the 180-day waivers provides them with a financial lifeline and time to try and lobby support from other countries against Washington's sanctions. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told FOX News that the easing of sanctions is temporary.

The sanctions cover Iran's banking and energy sectors and reinstate penalties for countries and companies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere that do not halt Iranian oil imports.

"Some OPEC members of these two committees have clearly taken sides with the (United States) in imposing its unilateral and unlawful sanctions against".

We have EIA report today at 14:30 (GMT). The bans had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). None of the other partners agree with United States decision. Strong crack margins should ensure a strong pick-up in refinery demand for crude oil - leading to lower stocks - once they return from maintenance.

India is the second largest recepient of oil from Iran after China. The port project is simply too critical for India and can benefit Afghanistan immensely.

Still, while the United States clampdown will probably trigger recession in Iran next year, economic meltdown should be avoided, with a reduced but still significant volume of oil exports continuing, a Fitch solutions analyst said.

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Iranian officials have said the waivers provide proof that the United States can not achieve its goal of cutting off all of Iran's oil exports. Washington also threatened secondary sanctions on nations and corporations that continue to do business with Tehran. He, however, added "but only because they have demonstrated significant reductions in their crude oil and cooperation on many other fronts".

But a short-term pop to $80 per barrel crude could be coming, say oil experts.

The net long position in the six most important petroleum-linked futures and options contracts was cut by a further 73 million barrels in the week to October 30.

South Korea has averaged over 200,000 bpd of oil imports from Iran so far this year, down from around 350,000 bpd in 2017.

With the granting of the waivers, it's likely that Iran will be able to keep its exports at least around 1.1 million bpd, and possibly even as high as the 2 million bpd of recent months. In hopes of mitigating the immediate economic hit, Iranian authorities have hinted that Tehran might have to sell its oil at a discount to entice buyers going forward.

US President Donald Trump on Monday chose to trumpet sanctions on Iran not with a speech, but a Twitter meme in reference to Game of Thrones, "Sanctions are coming".

Taiwan is only an occasional importer of Iranian oil, and no details regarding its waivers have been disclosed. With major cuts in the cheaper oil imports from Iran, the overall oil import bill is bound to rise further with its consequent adverse effect for the economy. "Because you have a monopoly called OPEC [the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries], and I don't like that monopoly".

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