Iran reaches agreement on gas with Italian power company

21 Oct 2017   Iran, Italy

Iranian oil and gas companies said they’ve signed agreements with an Italian power company to capture flared gas at one of the world’s largest natural fields. Pars Oil and Gas Co., the National Iranian South Oil Co. and a handful of others said they signed a memorandum of understanding with Italian power company Ansaldo Energia to collect flared gas from Phase 12 of the operations at the South Pars gas field. The World Bank has described natural gas as a bridge fuel to a low-carbon economy, noting it’s unfortunate companies are burning it off at the wellhead. The bank said flaring adds to the amount of potent greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere. It’s also […]

Kurdish oil operations proceeding as normal

21 Oct 2017   Iran

A day after U.S. supermajor Chevron said it was standing down in the Kurdish north of Iraq, British company Gulf Keystone Petroleum said all was well. “Gulf Keystone confirms that its operations in Kurdistan continue safely and securely with the company achieving average production of 34,525 barrels of oil per day from the Shaikan field since the beginning of October 2017,” the company said in a statement Friday. Fighting escalated during the weekend between Iraqi and Kurdish military forces, weeks after a controversial Kurdish referendum for independence. The Kurdish referendum coincided more or less with the liberation of parts of northern Iraq from the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State . There were reports that some of the flow of oil […]

A New Oil Crisis Is Developing In The Middle East

20 Oct 2017   Iran, Iraq

After over 40 years in the energy business, more than two decades of that with a parallel career in intelligence, I regularly witness the impact of global developments on the energy markets. So it’s hardly surprising that I often address geopolitical events here. Currently, situations in Latin America (Venezuela), Asia (the South China Sea crisis), and Africa (ongoing civil conflict in Libya and Nigeria) show how widespread the geopolitical impact is on energy prices and availability. Each one either is, or could easily, spike oil price volatility. But the instability in a different region remains the biggest single factor in how the two sectors interact… The Middle East. There, two significant events unfolded over the past week. Each is certain to have an impact on how crude oil trades in the near-term. The curious de-certification of JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, more popularly known as the “Iranian […]

Analysis: Business as usual for Iran oil exports as market eyes US sanctions threat

20 Oct 2017   Iran

The oil and shipping markets remain in limbo as the world awaits action from US Congress on sanctions targeting Iran, in the wake of President Donald Trump last week declaring Tehran noncompliant with the nuclear deal. Iran may have to discount oil if sanctions reimposed Asian importers might trim contracts Sanctions could affect tanker insurance With the deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, still in place for now, Iran continues to sell and ship oil internationally. Traders, brokers and shipowners say any reimposition of sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector might take months, if not a few years, to be fully implemented, as this would require consensus among US policymakers as well as the skeptical international community, which has urged the US not to jeopardize the JCPOA. Even so, they are already eying potential consequences if the US snaps back sanctions or imposes other measures that prompt Iran […]

Trump’s Iran Decision Haunts Big Oil

19 Oct 2017   Iran

United States President Donald Trump’s decision to “decertify” the Iran nuclear deal probably won’t have an immediate impact on oil prices, but the decision could plant the seeds of problems further down the road. That is because nothing happens right away—Trump kicked the decision to Congress . But he still significantly increases confrontation with Tehran, and is somewhat backing himself into a corner if Congress does nothing, or if Iran doesn’t offer concessions regarding its missile program—two scenarios that seem more likely than not. With little chance of making headway, Trump may leave himself with few options beyond escalation. Geopolitical risk has had very little influence on oil prices in the last three years due to the enormous glut of supply. But by 2018, the market will be much closer to balance, with inventories falling back to average levels. With tighter conditions, geopolitical risk will have greater salience. The […]

Rosneft’s Sechin says in talks with Iran to trade oil

19 Oct 2017   Iran, Russia

Russia’s Rosneft has been in talks with Tehran to set up a supply chain to deliver oil from Iran and Central Asia nations to the global markets, Igor Sechin, chief executive of Russia’s oil major Rosneft, said on Thursday. FILE PHOTO: A logo of Russian state oil firm Rosneft is seen at its office in Moscow, October 18, 2012. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo Rosneft will forge a partnership with China’s CEFC firm in a number of projects including exploration, production, refining, oil and oil products trading, Sechin told an industry forum in Verona.

Iran ready to do business with U.S. oil and gas companies: minister

18 Oct 2017   Iran

Iran is ready to do business with U.S. oil and gas companies, oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Tuesday, according to SHANA, the news site of the Iranian oil ministry. “American companies can come to Iran and benefit so Mr. Trump won’t be upset,” Zanganeh said, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump, according to SHANA. “They’ve (the United States) put up obstacles for American companies to come to Iran,” he said. “We don’t have any restrictions for working or negotiating with American companies with the intention of developing the oil and gas resources of Iran. If they want, we are ready to negotiate with them tomorrow.” Trump struck a blow against the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement last […]

Goldman: U.S.-Iran Standoff Is A Long-Term Threat To Oil Supply

18 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

While the Kurdistan-Iraq standoff is a risk to shorter-term oil production, the increased tensions between neighboring Iran and the U.S. are a longer-term and bigger threat to global oil supplies, according to Goldman Sachs. On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he was officially withdrawing his certification of Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal, in what is being billed as part of a tougher strategy on Iran. President Trump passed the nuclear deal back to Congress to review and amend the law. “That is why I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons,” President Trump said . The tougher stance from the U.S. may lead to more sanctions and to a prolonged tension between the U.S. and Iran. “In the case of Iran, there […]

Trump hostility set to deepen Iran power struggles

17 Oct 2017   Iran

Iranians quickly closed ranks against a hawkish new U.S. approach to Tehran, but Iran’s powerful hardliners are set to exploit the latest dispute with Washington to weaken domestic rivals who are open to the West, analysts and insiders say. President Donald Trump’s warning on Friday that he might ultimately terminate a landmark 2015 nuclear deal sets the stage for an eventual resurgence of political infighting within Iran’s complex power structures, officials said. If the accord signed by Iran and six major powers does start to fall apart, anyone who strongly promoted it, such as pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani, could face a career-damaging backlash. That could leave Iran’s security hardliners unchallenged at home, enabling […]

Iran says Trump’s nuclear deal policy not to have high impact on oil prices: TV

16 Oct 2017   Iran

President Donald Trump’s hardened stance on a multinational nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers will not have much impact on global oil prices, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told state TV on Sunday. FILE PHOTO: A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Gulf July 25, 2005. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/File Photo Trump refused on Friday to formally certify that Tehran was complying with the 2015 accord even though international inspectors say it is. He warned he might ultimately terminate the agreement.

Trump Just Made Iran A Wildcard

16 Oct 2017   Iran

American President Donald Trump has officially decertified the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Iran deal, while hitting Iranian power players—especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—with a new list of sanctions. Trump’s long-awaited statement on his confrontation with Iran could cause a watershed in the regional power structure of the Middle East. After calling the Iranian nuclear agreement the “worst deal ever”, Trump has now followed through on his statement by decertifying the JCPOA agreement and supporting the anti-Iran coalition in the Arab world. The new strategy toward Iran is largely designed to target Tehran’s main power player, the IRGC, a branch of the armed forces that controls between 30-60 percent of the country’s economy via ownership of many businesses, including some in the oil industry. Trump’s decision will also impact America’s European partners. The majority of European countries still want to support the JCPOA, as European partners […]

South Korea’s September Iranian crude oil imports rise to six-month high

16 Oct 2017   Iran, South Korea

South Korea’s imports of Iranian crude oil hit the highest level in six months in September amid Iran’s push to regain its lost market share during years it was under sanctions over its nuclear program. The world’s fifth-biggest crude importer shipped in 1.83 million tonnes of crude oil from Iran in September, or 446,148 barrels per day (bpd). That is a 22.8 percent increase from nearly 1.5 million tonnes a year ago, customs data showed on Sunday. South Korea mainly buys an ultra-light oil from Iran, also known as condensate, but the data does not provide a breakdown of imports. Iran has continued to expand its oil production since sanctions were lifted last year. The Middle Eastern country aims to maintain its combined exports of crude and condensate at around 2.6 million bpd for the rest of the year, even though Tehran had cleared excess oil […]

U.S. sanctions to complicate, not disrupt, Iran oil trade

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

A looming ramp-up in U.S. sanctions on Tehran will further spook potential buyers of Iranian oil although supplies to Europe will most likely remain uninterrupted, top trading houses told the Reuters Global Commodities Summit this week. FILE PHOTO: A security personnel looks on at oil docks at the port of Kalantari in the city of Chabahar, 300km (186 miles) east of the Strait of Hormuz, Iran January 17, 2012. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/File Photo U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to take a major step against the Iran nuclear deal on Friday, marking a more aggressive approach to Iranian activities in the Middle East. Trump will lay out his plan in a 12:45 p.m. EDT (1645 GMT)speech at the White House, the product of weeks of internal discussions between him and his national security team. Any big increase in sanctions will effectively leave the oil market where it […]

Trump’s Wrangling With Tehran Raises Alarm Bells for Multinationals in Iran

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

Iran’s South Pars facility. Total struck a $1 billion deal in July that gave it access to the giant gas field. Mr. Trump said Friday he won’t recertify the 2015 international deal struck with Tehran , which lifted sanctions in exchange for promises by Iran to curtail its nuclear program. He also vowed to cancel the deal himself if Congress and U.S. allies don’t act to address his concerns about the accord. The moves stopped short of pulling the U.S. out of the deal. But they send the clearest signal yet that the Trump administration is serious about considering reimposing sanctions, raising the risk for companies doing business in Iran of falling foul of such restrictions. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the steps announced Friday shouldn’t affect American firms that have applied for special licenses to do business authorized under the nuclear deal. Boeing Co. BA -0.34% […]

World powers hit back at Trump over repudiating Iran nuclear deal

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

International powers that signed the nuclear deal with Iran have hit back strongly at President Donald Trump’s repudiation of the landmark pact. Germany, France, the UK and Russia rallied together with the EU late on Friday in support of an agreement they said boosted international security by stopping Iran from building atomic weapons.  “We can’t afford as an international community to dismantle a nuclear agreement that’s working and delivering — especially now,” Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said in Brussels. “It’s not a bilateral agreement. It doesn’t belong to any single country — and it’s not up to one single country to terminate it.”

The leaders of France, Germany and the UK said in a joint statement that they were all “committed” to the deal and were “concerned by the possible implications” of Mr Trump’s refusal to recertify it. President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Theresa May, the UK prime minister, urged the Trump administration and the US Congress to “consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies” before taking steps that might further undermine the deal. Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said that Mr Trump’s position was “extremely troubling”, RIA news agency reported. Moscow now saw its main task as preventing the nuclear deal from collapsing, Mr Ryabkov was quoted as saying.

Interview: Trump’s Iran decision sends powerful risk signal to oil market

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

US President Donald Trump Friday officially renounced the Iran nuclear agreement, yet urged Congress to remain in the deal as he asked lawmakers to ultimately decide its fate. Elizabeth Rosenberg, a sanctions expert, also spoke Friday with S&P Global Platts on the impact Trump’s announcement may have on oil flows, global energy sector investment and Congress’ most likely path forward. Rosenberg is a senior fellow and director of the energy, economics and security program at the Center for a New American Security and a former senior advisor at the US Treasury Department. The interview was edited for brevity and clarity. PLATTS: What is the near-term impact, if any, that Trump’s decision to disavow the Iran deal will have on the global oil market? ROSENBERG: Though I think this was widely expected, this confirmation really sends a very powerful signal of risk to the market. I think many people have […]

Trump Disavows Iran Deal: What’s at Stake for Oil Markets

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

Iran, already struggling to attract investors to its energy industry, may find things tougher still as Trump refuses to certify the nuclear deal. (Bloomberg) — Iran, already struggling to attract investors to its energy industry, may find things tougher still as U.S. President Donald Trump refuses to certify the nuclear deal that eased sanctions on OPEC’s third-largest crude producer. In a speech Friday, Trump stopped short of abandoning the nuclear agreement but said he would impose new sanctions on Iran, particularly its Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the armed forces that owns many businesses including in the oil industry. The move won’t immediately curb the flow of some 2.3 million barrels of daily Iranian crude exports — more than three times the amount of oil the U.S. has sold abroad over the past year. For energy producers, however, the administration’s more confrontational approach does raise the risk of […]

Three scenarios if Trump decertifies Iran nuclear deal

13 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

1. Deal survives The deal’s supporters and the Trump administration convince Congress not to reimpose, or “snap back”, US nuclear sanctions on Iran, which would put Washington in violation of the agreement and risk triggering its collapse. Congress also amends legislation that requires the president to certify whether Iran is in compliance with the deal every 90 days, extending the certification timeframe or changing criteria. This would give Mr Trump a way out of having to publicly declare Iran is not in breach of an agreement he has described as the “worst deal ever”. A smooth ride also means convincing Mr. Trump to waive a congressional requirement, mandated by an act he signed into law in August, to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization by October 30. Tehran has suggested that if Washington targeted the Guards, one of the Islamic republic’s most powerful forces, it would consider it a termination of the agreement. 2. Renegotiation Congress does not vote to reimpose sanctions and the US stops short of falling out of the deal, but Washington attempts to renegotiate it. The Trump administration uses the uncertainty to press European allies to lean on Iran to fix what it believes are the deal’s flaws and to adopt a harsher strategy towards the Islamic republic. European signatories maintain the deal cannot be altered but push for

2. Renegotiation Congress does not vote to reimpose sanctions and the US stops short of falling out of the deal, but Washington attempts to renegotiate it. The Trump administration uses the uncertainty to press European allies to lean on Iran to fix what it believes are the deal’s flaws and to adopt a harsher strategy towards the Islamic republic. European signatories maintain the deal cannot be altered but push for stricter interpretation of the rules and greater access to military sites. They suggest ways to address the Trump administration’s concerns beyond the scope of the agreement itself, such as starting talks to address a new arrangement to cover the period after 2025, when the deal is due to expire, or Iran’s ballistic missile programme. The Senate lends support to any tougher strategy pursued by Mr Trump in a non-binding resolution. The US drags its heels on a deal for Boeing to sell $20bn of aircraft to Iran and imposes new non-nuclear sanctions against the Islamic republic but stops short of designating the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization. Uncertainty over US international commitments following decertification makes it harder to work with European allies to address Iran’s regional activities and for the US to move towards talks with North Korea. Iran argues that the US has undermined the deal by stymieing much needed foreign investment into the Islamic republic and pursues actions against US interests in the region, including in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq. Regional instability increases. 3. Back to sanctions Congress reimposes nuclear sanctions, prospects for the deal’s survival diminish and the US is criticised for being the unilateral aggressor against the agreement. Allies accuse Washington of failing to live up to international accords and the Trump administration’s touted preference for talks with North Korea falls on fallow ground.

3. Back to sanctions Congress reimposes nuclear sanctions, prospects for the deal’s survival diminish and the US is criticised for being the unilateral aggressor against the agreement. Allies accuse Washington of failing to live up to international accords and the Trump administration’s touted preference for talks with North Korea falls on fallow ground. Mr Trump designates the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization, which Tehran regards as a hostile act and a sign that Washington is moving towards regime change. Europeans introduce so-called blocking legislation in an attempt to insulate their business operating in Iran from US sanctions. But the promised economic dividend of the deal is further undermined. Efforts to keep the accord alive without the US fail, Iran is free to pursue nuclear enrichment unfettered and with better know-how. Tensions escalate in the Middle East.

Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal

13 Oct 2017   Europe, Iran

Europe is scrambling to come up with a contingency plan in the face of a U.S. threat to end the nuclear deal with Iran—a move that lends a high level of uncertainty to European megadeals, including French Total SA’s $5-billion oil deal with Tehran. At stake if Trump refuses to certify Tehran’s compliance with the nuclear accord on 15 October and sanctions are re-imposed are deals with European companies worth over $55 billion in total, according to figures from the Financial Times . If Trump refuses certification on 15 October, Congress would then have 60 days to make a decision on new sanctions, giving Europe two months tome come up with a contingency plan. Right now, there isn’t one. “People in Brussels are looking at whether blocking statutes need to be upgraded or updated,” David O’Sullivan, EU ambassador to the US, told the Financial Times on Thursday. “There’s no […]

New Iran Sanctions Could Send Oil Prices Higher

12 Oct 2017   Iran

Oil prices are bound to remain low over the next couple of years, but two potential events could send them either higher than today’s levels or sinking into the $30s—new U.S. sanctions on Iran or OPEC failing to extend the production cut deal beyond March 2018, Jeff Brown, president of consultancy Facts Global Energy (FGE), told the Reuters Global Commodities Summit on Wednesday. Even though the oil market now looks tighter than last year and earlier this year, inventories will likely stay high next year and in 2019, so there will be no big drivers for oil prices to materially rise, according to Brown. However, one potential upside for the market would be the U.S. imposing fresh sanctions on Iran. “While the U.S. appear to be going alone on this, we have seen in the past that U.S. sanctions alone can be very effective,” Brown said at the Reuters […]

Trump resists pressure to soften stance on Iran nuclear deal

12 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump finds himself under immense pressure as he considers de-certifying the international nuclear deal with Iran, a move that would ignore warnings from inside and outside his administration that to do so would risk undermining U.S. credibility. U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts Trump is expected to unveil a broad strategy on confronting Iran this week, likely on Friday. There was always the chance he could still have a last-minute change of heart and certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 accord, which he has called an “embarrassment” and the “worst deal ever negotiated.” Senior U.S. officials, European allies and prominent U.S. lawmakers have told Trump that refusing to certify the deal would leave the U.S. isolated, concede the diplomatic high ground to Tehran, and ultimately risk the unraveling of the agreement. Signed by […]

US lawmakers urge Trump to stay in Iran deal on eve of decision

12 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

US President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would soon reveal his strategy toward Iran and that he alone would decide on it, despite disagreement among his top advisers. Earlier Wednesday, Republican and Democratic leaders of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee urged Trump against abandoning the Iran nuclear deal. Trump is widely expected to make a speech Thursday laying out a new Iran strategy and decertifying the country’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. The agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action gave Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curtailing its nuclear program. Representative Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the Trump administration should preserve the deal to protect US national security, even though he opposed the deal at the time. “As flawed as the deal is, I believe we must now enforce the hell out of it,” Royce said. “Let’s work […]

Iranian energy companies lay out investment options in Amsterdam

12 Oct 2017   Iran

Iranian oil and natural gas companies said Wednesday they were among the hundreds on hand in the Netherlands to introduce investment opportunities to the world. Iranian energy companies are among the hundreds attending an annual offshore energy conference in Amsterdam, which wrapped up Wednesday. The Pars Oil and Gas Co., which helps drive operations at Iran’s offshore South Pars natural gas field, said in a statement it was one of a handful of Iranian companies with a pavilion set up at the exhibition. “Pars Oil and Gas Company, Iranian Offshore Oil Company, Iranian oil Terminals Company, and Petroleum Engineering and Development Company are among active companies in the offshore industry of Iran that have attended this exhibition in order to introduce […]

What will happen if Trump decertifies the Iran nuclear deal?

10 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

US President Donald Trump has called the landmark nuclear agreement in which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme in exchange for limited sanctions relief the “worst deal ever” and threatened to scrap it. Mr Trump is expected to refuse to certify the deal to Congress by an October 15 deadline and initiate stronger moves against Iran. That will not put the US in automatic violation of the deal, but what happens next is likely to be complicated, messy and potentially explosive. Who supports the deal? The 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was the crowning foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration. The four other permanent members of the UN Security Council — China, France, Russia and the UK — joined Germany and the EU in signing on to the deal with Iran. The process was endorsed into international law by the UN Security Council. Today, all parties agree with assessments from the International Atomic Energy Agency, a UN body, that Iran is in compliance with the deal.  What is the October 15 deadline about? Congress, which was never asked to ratify the deal because of its near-uniform antipathy for it, sought a role nonetheless: it passed the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which requires the sitting administration to certify US commitment to the deal every 90 days, including whether Iran remains compliant and whether the deal remains vital to US national security interests. The next deadline falls on October 15. What happens if Mr Trump does not certify the deal by October 15? If Mr Trump does not, as expected, certify the deal to Congress by that date, Congress would then have 60 days to initiate legislation under expedited procedures that could “snap back” the nuclear sanctions it continually waives on Iran. This would put the US in violation of the JCPOA, which could fall apart as a result.

Renewed Sanctions On Iran Could Disrupt Oil Exports

10 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

President Trump is poised to announce over the coming days, that the landmark Iran nuclear agreement is no longer in the national interest of the United States. While the so-called “decertification” would not be the fatal blow to the Iran deal that Trump promised on the campaign trail, it would kick the issue back to Congress, which could potentially pull out of the deal entirely. Supporters of the move say it could provide leverage to renegotiate the deal or have follow-on deals, and signal to Iran that the United States will not put up with other activities the United States sees as destabilizing but are not governed by the deal. There is also a risk that such a move could backfire: Iran has already warned that more sanctions would be seen as a hostile aggression. “The Americans should know that the Trump government’s stupid behavior with the nuclear deal […]

Iran promises ‘crushing’ response if U.S. designates Guards a terrorist group

9 Oct 2017   Iran

Iran promised on Monday to give a “crushing” response if the United States designated its elite Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group. The pledge came a week before President Donald Trump announces final decision on how he wants to contain Tehran. He is expected on Oct 15 to decertify the landmark international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, in a step that potentially could cause the 2015 accord to unravel. Trump is also expected to designate Iran’s most powerful security force, the Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, as he rolls out a broader U.S. strategy on Iran. “We are hopeful that the United States does not make this strategic mistake,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi […]

China says hopes Iran nuclear deal stays intact amid Trump criticism

9 Oct 2017   China, Iran, USA

China said on Monday it hopes the Iran nuclear deal will stay intact, playing an important role in keeping the peace, after a senior U.S. official said President Donald Trump is expected to decertify the agreement. The official, speaking last week on condition of anonymity, said Trump was also expected to roll out a broader U.S. strategy on Iran that would be more confrontational. The Trump administration has frequently criticized Iran’s conduct in the Middle East. Trump, who has called the pact an “embarrassment” and “the worst deal ever negotiated”, has been weighing whether it serves U.S. security interests as he faces an Oct. 15 deadline for certifying […]

Trump expected to decertify Iran nuclear deal, official says

6 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

President Donald Trump is expected to announce soon that he will decertify the landmark international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, a senior administration official said on Thursday, in a step that potentially could cause the 2015 accord to unravel. Trump has been weighing whether the pact, which he has called an “embarrassment,” serves U.S. security interests as he faces an Oct. 15 deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with it. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump is also expected to roll out a broader U.S. strategy on Iran that would be more confrontational. The Trump administration has frequently criticized Iran’s conduct in the Middle East. If Trump declines to certify Iran’s compliance, U.S. congressional leaders would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the agreement. The Washington Post first reported Trump’s plans to say that […]

Trump plans to declare that Iran nuclear deal is not in the national interest

6 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

President Trump speaks to world leaders at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 19. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) President Trump plans to announce next week that he will “decertify” the international nuclear deal with Iran, saying it is not in the national interest of the United States and kicking the issue to a reluctant Congress, people briefed on an emerging White House strategy for Iran said Thursday. The move would mark the first step in a process that could eventually result in the resumption of U.S. sanctions against Iran, which would blow up a deal limiting Iran’s nuclear activities that the country reached in 2015 with the U.S. and five other nations.

Tillerson Flap Bad Timing for Iran Decision: Balance of Power

6 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

Signs of friction are again plaguing Donald Trump’s White House at a pivotal moment for his policy agenda. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s team spent yesterday disputing a report he referred to Trump as a moron and was on the verge of resigning over the summer, only to be talked off the ledge by Vice President Mike Pence and others. The timing couldn’t be worse — it comes as Trump needs to project unity within his administration, especially as he appears set to break with international opinion once again, this time on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. While Trump has publicly attacked the accord, Defense Secretary James Mattis told senators this week the Obama-era deal was “something that the president should consider staying with.” White House officials who have left or been fired include Trump’s chief strategist, national security adviser and communications director. Even his legal team […]

Iran says OPEC met oil output cut pledges by just over 100 percent in September: RIA

5 Oct 2017   Iran, OPEC

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Wednesday that OPEC members had fulfilled their obligations under a global oil output cut deal by slightly over 100 percent in September, the RIA news agency quoted him as saying. He was also cited as saying that non-OPEC producers had met their own output cut obligations by nearly 100 percent.

Iran says OPEC ready to do everything needed for market stability

4 Oct 2017   Iran, OPEC

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh talks to journalists during a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader MOSCOW (Reuters) – Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Wednesday it is his understanding that all OPEC members want to do everything necessary to stabilize oil markets. Asked by reporters in Moscow whether an oil production-cutting deal should be extended beyond March, he said: “We have not discussed with each other in this regard. But it seems that all the OPEC members believe that to make stability on the market … it’s my sense that all are ready to do everything needed for this situation.” Reporting by Katya Golubkova, Vladimir Soldatkin, Olesya Astakhova, Darya Korsunskaya and Jack Stubbs; Editing by Dale Hudson

Military buildup on the KRG-Iran border

3 Oct 2017   Iran, Iraq

Kurdish leaders affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party deployed reinforcements to the Iranian border Monday, as tensions increased over fears that federal Iraqi troops would take the Parwezkhan border crossing by force. Iranian troops have been conducting military exercises near Parwezkhan – a menacing show of displeasure in response to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Sept. 25 non-binding independence referendum .

Turkey To Meet With Iran, Iraq Over Kurdish Independence Vote

30 Sep 2017   Iran, Iraq, Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on September 28 that he wants to hold a summit with Iranian and Iraqi leaders to coordinate their response to the Kurdish vote for independence in Iraq. “We are planning to come together in the near future to coordinate the steps to be taken for the next period,” Yildirim told reporters in Turkey. “We want a three-way summit,” he said. Yildirim’s office said he discussed the referendum in a phone conversation with Iranian First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri on September 28. Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey all have sizable Kurdish populations and have had to deal for years with Kurdish restiveness and calls for autonomy. The biggest share of the approximately 30 million Kurds in the region live in Turkey, which for decades has battled the PKK Kurdish militant group fighting for independence within its borders. Although the Kurdish region in northern Iraq […]

US sanctions against Iran would see grudging international compliance

30 Sep 2017   Iran, USA

If the US reimposes sanctions on Iran’s oil sector without the support of Europe, China and Russia, it will see grudging and uneven compliance by international energy companies and will not be able to stop crude flows that returned to the market in 2015, according to sanctions expert Elizabeth Rosenberg. “Grudging compliance does not look like robust, immediate information sharing to support the enforcement of sanctions,” said Rosenberg, the director of the energy economics and security program at the Center for New American Security and a former Treasury Department adviser on sanctions. “In that world, sanctions are leaky, they’re not so strong and they will be revealed to Iran and the world to be not an effective tool of statecraft and there will be myriad opportunities for opportunistic business people — and confused business people — to find ways of continuing the business that they have in place,” Rosenberg […]

Zarif calls on Europe to save Iran nuclear deal

30 Sep 2017   Europe, Iran

Iran’s foreign minister has said he expects US President Donald Trump will not uphold a historic nuclear agreement next month, and called on Europeans to step in to protect the deal. Javad Zarif also maintained in an interview with the Financial Times and the Guardian that if the deal collapses, Iran would no longer have to abide by its limitations — which include curbs on uranium enrichment, centrifuge numbers and the production of plutonium. “You either live by it, or you set it aside,” Mr Zarif said of the agreement, which he depicted as a done deal, not to be renegotiated. “You cannot be half pregnant.” If Mr Trump does not “recertify” the agreement at 90 day intervals — the next of which is due on October 16 — Congress has 60 days to decide whether to impose new sanctions. Such a step by Capitol Hill could lead to the implosion of the deal — which is cosigned by other world powers and was passed into international law by the UN Security Council. Mr Trump called the agreement an “embarrassment” in a speech to the UN this month. “My assumption and guess is that he will not certify and then will allow Congress to take the decision,” Mr Zarif said at the Iranian UN mission’s residence in New York.  “The deal allowed Iran to continue its research and development. So we have improved our technological base,” he added. “If we decide to walk away from the deal we would be walking away with better technology.” Mr Zarif, who insisted Iran would only use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, said the country’s options “will depend on how the rest of the international community deal with the United States”. France, Germany and the UK — which together with Russia and China make up the deal’s signatories — have rallied to its defence after they began to realise that Mr Trump might seek to undermine it to a breaking point.  “If Europe and Japan and Russia and China decided to go along with the US, then I think that will be the end of the deal,” Mr Zarif. “Europe should lead.” European diplomats argue that if the deal is kept alive it would also offer evidence that Washington can keep its word as it seeks talks with North Korea over Pyongyang’s own nuclear programme.  But they say privately that the US — which acknowledges Iran is in “tactical” compliance with the deal — is set on hardening its line on Tehran.

What Happens If Trump Trashes The Iran Nuclear Deal?

26 Sep 2017   Iran, USA

The U.S. president needs to recertify the agreement every three months, with the latest deadline coming up on October 15. There’s speculation that this time around, President Trump won’t issue a recertification, a move that could trigger the withdrawal of the U.S. from the international accord, with far-reaching consequences for U.S.-Iranian relations, Middle East stability, and global markets. President Trump called the agreement “an embarrassment” and previously said it was one of the “worst deals” he’s ever seen. He begrudgingly recertified the agreement a few months ago, but has hinted that this time around he’ll pull the plug. Trump’s case is problematic. He argues that Iran has violated the agreement, despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency, the official monitor of the nuclear accord, says Iran has complied. So do the other signatories to the deal, including U.S. allies. In fact, The New York Times reported in […]

Peak Iran: ‘One of the most underappreciated geopolitical risks in the oil market’

26 Sep 2017   Iran

As RBC’s head of commodity strategy in New York, Ms. Croft is closely monitoring the mounting tensions to determine what they could mean for the Iranian nuclear agreement, and, thus, crude supply and prices. And warning about the “precarious” nature of it all. She was referring in a recent report to President Donald Trump’s comments on the multination deal, which allows for an easing of sanctions amid nuclear restrictions on Iran. “President Trump’s speech at the UN [last] week, as well statements by senior administration officials, underscored just how precarious U.S. participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) really is, as well as the strong possibility that the White House will opt to decertify Iran next month,” Ms. Croft said. Mr. Trump has to certify to Congress, every three months, that Iran is meeting its commitments under the nuclear agreement, and the next chance to do that […]

What happens to Iran sanctions freeze if Trump wants to exit deal

23 Sep 2017   Iran

US President Donald Trump appears to be ready to declare Iran in non-compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, according to Washington-based sanctions experts, but such a decision alone would not reinstate US sanctions against Iran’s oil sector. Congress or White House could reimpose Iran oil sanctions Analysts debate impact of US-only sanctions on oil market Iranian crude could again shift to Asia, away from Europe Trump said Wednesday he has made up his mind about the US’ future in the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but he did not indicate whether he wants to leave the agreement. Trump faces an October 15 deadline Congress set to certify whether Iran continues to comply with the JCPOA. His administration certified compliance in May and in July. Article continues below… Oilgram News brings you fast-breaking global petroleum and gas news on and including: Industry players, upstream and downstream […]

Iran says it does not expect U.S. to leave nuclear deal

21 Sep 2017   Iran

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Iran vowed on Wednesday not to be the first nation to violate the Iran nuclear deal and said it did not expect the United States to abandon it despite President Donald Trump’s fierce criticism. Trump, who on Tuesday called the 2015 international accord “an embarrassment,” said he had made up his mind whether to keep the pact but declined to disclose his decision. Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly of world leaders, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded forcefully to Trump’s pugnacious speech on Tuesday by saying Iran would not be pushed around by a relative newcomer to the world stage. But he also said Iran desired to preserve its accord with six world powers under which Tehran agreed to restrict its nuclear program for at least a decade in return for the loosening of economic sanctions that crippled its economy. “The Islamic Republic of Iran […]

Iran’s Khamenei warns U.S. against ‘wrong move’ on nuclear deal

18 Sep 2017   Iran, USA

Iran will not be bullied by the United States and will react strongly to any “wrong move” by Washington on Tehran’s nuclear deal, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that Iran was violating “the spirit” of the 2015 deal under which it got sanctions relief in return for curbing its nuclear program. State television quoted Khamenei as saying Iran was standing firm “and any wrong move by the domineering regime regarding the (nuclear accord) will face the reaction of the Islamic Republic.” Washington extended some sanctions relief for Iran on Thursday under the nuclear deal with world powers but said it had yet to decide whether to maintain the agreement. Trump must make a decision by mid-October whether to certify that Iran is complying with the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). If […]

Iran ‘prepared for any measure’ for oil market stability

16 Sep 2017   Iran

Speaking alongside his Venezuelan counterpart, Iran’s oil minister said there was a general readiness for multilateral efforts geared toward market stability. A measure implemented by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in January to draw down the surplus on the five-year average for global crude oil prices with coordinated production declines is credited with supporting a floor under Brent crude oil prices at $50 per barrel. Two recent hurricanes that hit the southern United States are supporting stronger oil prices because of the subsequent demand strains brought by the impacts on the energy sector. A weaker dollar is another contributing factor to the price of oil, which for Brent, is close to a 2017 high at about $55.60 early […]

Iran cracks down on Revolutionary Guards business network

15 Sep 2017   Iran

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps is being forced to shrink its sprawling business empire and some of its senior members have been arrested as part of President Hassan Rouhani’s attempts to curb the elite force’s role in the economy. In the past year, the guards, who have interests in sectors ranging from oil and gas to telecoms and construction, have had to restructure some holding companies and transfer ownership of others back to the state, a regime insider and a government official told the Financial Times. At least a dozen guards members and affiliated businessmen have been detained in recent months, while others are being forced to pay back wealth accrued through suspect business deals, the officials said. One manager of a large holding company affiliated to the guards was arrested a few months ago and cash worth millions of dollars was confiscated from his house, said a businessman who has worked with the guards. A brigadier general — described as the corps’ economic brain — was also arrested this year, but released on bail, the regime insider said. The crackdown, which is being conducted discreetly to avoid undermining the guards — one of the most powerful arms of Islamic republic’s regime — began last year. It started after Mr Rouhani, a pragmatist who has criticised the guards’ role in the economy, told Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, about the vast wealth individuals affiliated to the 120,000-strong force had accumulated, the officials said. “Mr Rouhani has told the supreme leader that the economy has reached a deadlock because of high levels of corruption and the guards’ massive control over the economy,” said one regime insider, who is a relative of the supreme leader. “Other than economic concerns, Mr Khamenei feels the need to save the guards [from corruption] and has naturally thrown his support behind the move.”

Iran, Syria Sign Energy Agreement

14 Sep 2017   Iran, Syria

Iranian and Syrian media have reported the signing, by officials from the two countries, of several agreements that would allow Iran to improve the production and distribution of electricity in war-torn Syria. One agreement reportedly includes the building of a 540-megawatt power plant in the Latakia province, while another targets the restoration of the main control center of Syria’s power grid in the capital, Damascus. A third agreement reportedly lays the groundwork for Iranian power supply to Aleppo city, which the Syrian military and its allies retook last year. Mounting talk of reconstruction comes as the Syrian army is said to be making consistent progress in recent months in wresting control of cities and towns from Islamic State (ISIS). Last week, the Syrian Arab Army staged an offensive to recapture oil-rich areas of the Al-Raqqa governorate that had fallen to ISIS. This area is home to the Jararih oilfield […]

Billions In Oil Deals Shield Iran From U.S. Sanctions

25 Aug 2017   Iran

Since many of the Western sanctions on Iran were lifted early last year, Tehran has been trying to restore its crude oil exports to a pre-sanction level and attract foreign investments in its energy sector. Companies are still cautious and not rushing into deals with Iran, but many European, Russian, and Asian firms have signed preliminary agreements or letters of intent with Iran that would turn into billions of dollars of investments. The pledged and potential investments could help Iran cushion the impact of any move by U.S. President Donald Trump to end the nuclear deal with Iran that the U.S. had agreed together with China, France, Germany, Russia, and the UK. While the U.S. has slapped new sanctions on Iranian companies in response to a ballistic missile program and President Trump has signed into law an act imposing new sanctions on Iran, some of the biggest European and […]

OPEC congratulates Iran’s oil minister on reappointment

22 Aug 2017   Iran, OPEC

OPEC looks forward to a durable and constructive relationship with member state Iran, its secretary general told the country’s reappointed oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh. The Iranian parliament during the weekend confirmed Zanganeh for a second term in office as the oil minister for a country that has the third largest oil reserves in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Isolated in part by sanctions, the country has seen some economic doors open in response to a multilateral agreement that brought sanctions relief in exchange for stepping back from its nuclear research program. OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo sent a letter of congratulations to the minister, recognizing him as the longest serving energy minister among OPEC […]

Foreign funds for Iran’s oil sector a top priority: Oil Minister

21 Aug 2017   Iran

Attracting foreign investment for Iran’s oil sector will continue to be a top priority during President Hassan Rouhani’s second term, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Sunday. “Attracting foreign investment and technology is a priority for us in the oil industry, whether in shared fields or for increasing the production of oil at fields that are already operational,” he said during a live television interview on state TV. Zanganeh, who won parliamentary approval on Sunday to stay on as oil minister, has been credited with increasing Iran’s crude output since many global sanctions were lifted last year following an international deal on Iran’s nuclear program. He has also won praise with a multi-billion-dollar deal with France’s Total to […]

Iran Seeks 500,000 Bpd Oil Swap With Caspian Countries

19 Aug 2017   Iran

Iran is ready to swap 500,000 bpd of oil with its fellow Caspian Sea countries, Iranian Fars news agency reported on Friday, quoting a senior official. According to Hamid Hosseini, head of the North department at Iranian Oil Pipeline and Telecommunication Company, a 272-km (169 miles) pipeline has been built to ship crude oil from the Neka terminal on the Caspian Sea to a Tehran refinery. Under the swap deals, refineries in Tehran and Tabriz use the swapped oil, while Iran delivers the same amount it receives via the Kharq Oil Terminal in the Persian Gulf. Last week, Iran resumed the oil swaps in the Caspian Sea after a 7-year suspension, Platts reported , quoting the National Iranian Oil Co. Several oil tankers have already been offloaded at the Neka terminal, the Iranian company said, but did not name the countries with which it had resumed swap deals. Before […]

Iran sees banking channels opening up

16 Aug 2017   Iran

With foreign energy companies signing early deals with Iran, the country’s president said banking channels to the world could be opening up. Last month, a consortium of French energy company Total, China National Petroleum Corp. and Petropars Ltd., a subsidiary of the state-run National Iranian Oil Co., signed a 20-year contract to help develop parts of the giant South Pars natural gas field in the Persian Gulf. It was the first contract since Iran implemented a multi-lateral nuclear deal in early 2016. With Iranian President Hassan Rouhani earning a second term in office earlier this year, the Total-led deal cleared a path for future investments from foreign energy companies. Rouhani, who helped steer the post-sanction economy, set a goal of signing 10 new […]

Iran could quit nuclear deal in ‘hours’ if new U.S. sanctions imposed: Rouhani

15 Aug 2017   Iran

Iran could abandon its nuclear deal with world powers “within hours”, if the United States continues to impose new sanctions, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday. “If America wants to go back to the experience (of imposing sanctions), Iran would certainly return in a short time — not a week or a month but within hours — to conditions more advanced than before the start of negotiations,” Rouhani told a session of parliament broadcast live on state television.