Saturday, 25 May, 2019

Iran looks to keep its oil flowing as sanctions bite

Gas flares from an oil production platform at the Soroush oil fields in the Persian Gulf south of the capital Tehran Gas flares from an oil production platform at the Soroush oil fields in the Persian Gulf south of the capital Tehran
Patty Aguilar | 15 March, 2019, 19:31

OPEC and its allies agreed late in 2018 to cut output by 1.2 million bpd.

India is hopeful that the U.S. will extend the waiver from sanctions on its oil imports from Iran when the current six-month period expires in early May following Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale's talks with senior officials in Washington this week.

The United States wants to slash Iran's crude-oil exports by some 20 percent beginning in May by demanding that importers reduce purchases or face US sanctions, Reuters news agency reports.

The news of an advanced level meeting with industry executives on critical diplomatic and political mandates came forward, after Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) commented yesterday (March 11th) that the United States would be leading the global crude supply and controlling the markets alongside prices within next five years.

Altogether, more than 20 other tankers in Iran's fleet have been reflagged to Iran this year.

Greece and Italy were not buying any Iranian oil, Iran's oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, was quoted as saying in February.

"The biggest problem for insurers these days is finding a bank willing to handle a payment for goods or services where the beneficiary is designated by the USA", said Salthouse, chairman of the International Group's sanctions sub-committee.

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Oil traders do not want to enter Iran. Insurance companies in the West are also hesitant to get involved.

Brian Hook, the State Department's special representative on Iran, said in remarks at the CERAWeek energy conference that the sanctions have denied Iran roughly $10 billion in revenue since 2017, removing about 1.5 million barrels per day of Iranian oil from global markets.

Israel warned this month that its navy could take action against Iran, which it said was smuggling oil using clandestine measures similar to those employed during the previous round of sanctions.

Last May the United States pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal, reimposing stiff economic sanctions that had been lifted from Iran in return for the dismantling of the weapons-capable elements of its nuclear development program. Most Europeans, as well as Japan and South Korea, have stopped. And according to Daniel Yergin, vice chairman at IHS Markit, the record-setting US oil production has given flexibility to the Administration in the sanctions.

Still, Hook said the decision on waivers will be made by President Trump, who is closely watching oil prices.

Shipping records show that 16 of Iran's tankers are at least 19 years old - and three of those vessels have been in service since 1996.

Iran has more than 50 tankers, but this month, for example, it's using 12 of those to store oil in floating storage at sea, according to MarineTraffic data cited by Reuters.

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