Iraq-Iran Oil Swap Deal To Run For 1 Year

12 Dec 2017   Iran, Iraq

The oil swap deal that Iraq and Iran agreed to last week will run for one year and is subject to renegotiation, Iraq’s Oil Minister, Jabbar al Luaibi told media. The deal envisages the swap of up to 60,000 bpd of crude oil, with the Iraqi oil coming from the Kirkuk field in northern Iraq, which until recently was under the effective control of the Kurdistan Regional Government. After the Iraqi offense against Kurdistan following an independence referendum that Baghdad rejected, the central government of the country resumed control of the Kirkuk field, but no oil flowed from it. Now, Baghdad will transport between 30,000 and 60,000 bpd of Kirkuk crude by tanker trucks to the border with Iran, at Kermanshah. In exchange, Iran will supply the same amount of similar-grade crude to Iraq’s southern ports. In the future, the partners plan to build a new pipeline from the […]

Iraq oil minister says Kirkuk oil swap deal with Iran is for one year

11 Dec 2017   Iran, Iraq

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said on Sunday that a deal signed with Tehran to swap up to 60,000 barrels per day of crude produced from the northern Iraqi Kirkuk oilfield for Iranian oil is for one year and subject to renewal. The agreement signed on Friday by the two OPEC countries provides for Iran to deliver to Iraq’s southern ports, on the Gulf, “oil of the same characteristics and in the same quantities” as those it would receive from Kirkuk. “This is an agreement for one year and then we will see after that whether to renew it,” Luaibi told reporters in Kuwait City on the sidelines of an Arab oil ministerial meeting. The deal in effect allows Iraq to resume sales of […]

Iran’s Elaborate Sanction-Skirting Scheme

4 Dec 2017   Iran, Turkey

Turkish authorities and banks cooperated with Tehran in the development of a scheme aimed at providing Iran with international markets for its gas in exchange for hard currency that was laundered in a variety of ways before it went back to Iran. That’s the gist of a story that recently got some major publicity with the start of a trial in Manhattan against gold trader Reza Zarrib and banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at Halkbank. The two took part in a scheme that originated before 2012 and possibly ran until 2016, when Zarrib was arrested. The key witness of the prosecution is Reza Zarrib, who pleaded guilty to money laundering and decided to cooperate with the U.S. authorities. Of Turkish-Iranian descent, Zarrib was an early bloomer in entrepreneurship. According to an extensive story in Bloomberg, he started his first business when he was barely 16. He then progressed […]

A BP North Sea field to test U.S. policy on Iran

27 Nov 2017   Iran, USA

 A small gas field on the edge of the British North Sea could become a litmus test for U.S. policy towards Iran. London-based BP this week agreed to sell to North Sea producer Serica Energy three fields in the aging offshore basin, including the Rhum field which is co-owned by a subsidiary of Iran’s national oil company. Sponsored For Serica, the $400 million deal will increase its production sevenfold. It nevertheless hinges on the British company receiving a license from U.S. sanctions enforcement authorities at a time when President Donald Trump is flexing his muscles against Tehran. For BP and its American Chief Executive Bob Dudley, selling Rhum, which BP discovered in the 1970s, removes a potential source of friction as it mends its ties with the U.S. government following the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Rhum was shut down for […]

Can This Old BP Oil Refinery Help Iran Beat Donald Trump?

22 Nov 2017   Iran

At the Middle East’s oldest oil refinery, giant, yellow-brick silos that stored Iranian crude and fuel products are mottled by bullet marks from the war with Iraq in the 1980s. One has a large puncture from a tank shell. The conflict is now economic, but this area of southwest Iran near the Persian Gulf is strategically important again. U.S. President Donald Trump’s talk of jettisoning the nuclear deal that was supposed to plug the Islamic Republic back into the global marketplace has given fresh urgency to plans to transform a region as rich in petroleum reserves as it is in battle scars. With the help of China, the aim is turn the century-old Abadan refinery from a millstone costing the government up to $700 million a year into a cash cow that can meet Iran’s domestic demand for better quality fuel rather than relying on imports. “With Trump’s stance, […]

Iran pushes to retain Asia oil buyers as possible U.S. sanctions loom

22 Nov 2017   Iran

Iran is pushing to retain customers for its oil in Asia, hoping that price reductions will boost the appeal of its crude compared with other Middle Eastern supply even as the potential threat of further U.S. sanctions on the country looms. The National Iranian Oil Company has in the last few weeks offered spot cargoes, ranging from light to heavy grades, to its term buyers in Asia, after setting December prices at the lowest in years against comparable Saudi grades, three sources with knowledge of the matter said. Sponsored The sources declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak with media, while NIOC was not immediately available for comment. That comes as U.S. Congress has until mid-December to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran that were lifted in exchange for it limiting its nuclear activity, with President Donald Trump disavowing Tehran’s compliance […]

Iran sees support for an extended OPEC cut agreement

21 Nov 2017   Iran

Iran’s oil minister said Monday that most members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries back extensions to a production cut agreement. On Friday, Phil Flynn , a senior market analyst for the PRICE Futures Group in Chicago, said the Saudi energy ministry had “all but guaranteed” a deal credited with putting a floor under crude oil prices at around $50 per barrel would be extended deep into next year. On Monday, it was the Iranian energy minister’s turn, though Bijan Zangeneh said a formal agreement would have to wait. “The final decision on the future of the deal is expected to be made at the upcoming OPEC meeting,” he was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying. OPEC […]

Iran says majority of OPEC members support extending oil output cuts

20 Nov 2017   Iran

Iran’s oil minister said on Monday that a majority of OPEC members support extending output cuts but a final decision will be taken at their next meeting on Nov. 30.  The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia has reduced output since January 1 under an agreement set to run until next March. Producers are curbing their output in hopes of supporting prices and reducing inventories. OPEC will meet at the end of the month to discuss the policy. “The majority of members support the extension of the plan, but the final decision should be taken at the next OPEC meeting,” Iran’s Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying by […]

Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations

18 Nov 2017   Iran

Iran could ship its first export-bound cargo of LNG at the end of 2018, BMI Research said , after a JV between Iran’s Kharg Gas Refining Co. and Helma Vantage began talks with Belgian ship owner Exmar to charter its floating LNG vessel Caribbean FLNG for the short term. The JV has already sealed a deal with the National Iranian Oil Company to deploy the vessel, which has a capacity of 500,000 tons of LNG. The JV will also be in charge of storing and transferring the future LNG cargoes. The project is worth US$600 million, and BMI Research says that its volume will not be all too significant, but it would achieve a tactical purpose, allowing Iran to deepen its relationship with its partners in Europe and Asia, building the foundation of what could become a profitable business in a future where LNG will only continue to gain […]

U.S. Seeks to Bolster Saudi Arabia in Face of Expanding Iranian Threat

18 Nov 2017   Iran, Saudi Arabia, USA

The Trump administration is looking at ways to quickly strengthen Saudi Arabia’s missile defenses and disrupt the flow of advanced Iranian-made weapons across the Middle East as concerns grow over a destabilizing new crisis in the region. U.S. officials said they have rushed to ease regional tensions after an eruption of unexpected developments, including Saudi Arabia’s internal political upheaval , the mysterious resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister while visiting Riyadh, and the launch by Tehran-backed rebels in Yemen of an Iranian-made missile that was shot down near the Saudi capital. The Trump administration is pushing for a quick resolution to the political stalemate in Lebanon so the U.S. and Saudi Arabia can focus on what Washington sees as the most significant regional threat: […]

Iran reports strong gains in tax revenue from oil sales

16 Nov 2017   Iran

Tax revenue generated from the sale of crude oil and oil products increased more than 80 percent from last year, the Central Bank of Iran reported Wednesday. The bank reported total tax revenues during the six months of the Iranian calendar year, which began March 21, was $15.9 billion, down about 3.6 percent from the same period last year. Total expenses, meanwhile, were up more than 13 percent from last year. Campaigning for a second term in office earlier this year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said easing international sanctions and addressing a high rate of inflation were national priorities. As easing sanctions make it somewhere easier to do business in Iran, Rouhani boasted after the elections that banking channels to the […]

Oil Seen As Real Prize of Iran’s Kurdish Adventure

15 Nov 2017   Iran, Iraq

After helping Iraq stifle a Kurdish push for independence, Iran is now positioning itself to take control of oil exports from the region’s giant Kirkuk field, with the first deliveries expected within days, officials and trading sources said. In the weeks since September’s failed Kurdish independence referendum, Iraq has agreed for the first time to divert crude from Kirkuk province, which it retook from the Kurds, to Iran, where it will supply a refinery in the city of Kermanshah. Iran is locked in a proxy war with its regional rival and U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia. As well as Iraq, it has been extending its influence in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, raising increasing concerns in Washington and Riyadh. Under […]

Iran Denies Involvement In Bahrain Oil Pipeline Blast

14 Nov 2017   Bahrain, Iran

Tehran has denied that it had anything to do with the blow-up of Bahrain’s biggest oil pipeline that carries crude from Saudi Arabia. In a statement carried by media, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said “It seems the only thing that Bahraini officials have learned to do after any incident in the island is pinning the blame on Iran. “They should know that the era of making such absurd and false statements and the time of playing such childish blame-games has come to an end.” The blast occurred late on Friday night near a village 15 km from Manama, and did not result in any casualties but caused damage to nearby cars and buildings. Bahrain’s Interior Minister, Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa issued a statement following the blast saying it was “the latest example of a terrorist act performed by terrorists in direct contact with, and under instruction […]

Total chief says would have to review Iran gas deal if new sanctions arose

14 Nov 2017   France, Iran

French oil and gas major Total would have to review its Iran gas project if the United States decided to impose unilateral sanctions on Tehran, given its interests in the U.S. market, its chief executive told CNN.  “Either we can do the deal legally if there is a legal framework,” Patrick Pouyanne said in remarks made to CNNMoney Emerging Markets late on Monday. “If we cannot do that for legal reasons, because of [a] change of [the] regime of sanctions, then we have to revisit it.” Pouyanne’s office confirmed the interview had taken place. “If there is a sanctions regime [on Iran], we have to look at it carefully,” Pouyanne also said. “We work in the U.S., we have assets in the U.S., we just […]

The War That Would Transform Oil Markets

14 Nov 2017   Iran, Saudi Arabia

A fire erupted at an oil pipeline connecting Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and the two Arab allies are pointing the finger at Tehran . Iranian officials denied any involvement, but the incident is the latest in a series of events that are intensifying conflict between the Middle Eastern rivals. The oil pipeline resumed operations in a matter of hours, but the war of words is heating up. Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Khalifa said on Twitter that the “attempt to bomb the Saudi-Bahraini oil pipeline is a dangerous Iranian escalation that aims to scare citizens and hurt the global oil industry.” A spokesperson for Iran fired back, saying that the Bahrainis “need to know that the era for lies and childish finger-pointing is over.” The incident comes only days after a missile was fired from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, which the Saudis pinned on Iran. Meanwhile, a web of intrigue […]

Iran to facilitate Kirkuk exports

11 Nov 2017   Iran, Iraq

By trucking crude to Iran, the Oil Ministry would reduce dependence on the KRG-controlled export system and open a new outlet for Kirkuk oil that is currently stranded. Deputy Oil Minister Karim Hattab (left), acting Kirkuk Gov. Rakan al-Jabouri (center) and North Oil Company Director General Farid al-Jadir (right) lead a meeting with senior provincial oil, security and administrative officials on Nov. 7. Among the topics: speeding up oil field and pipelines development. (Source: Kirkuk governor’s office) Iraq has announced a preliminary deal to export as much as 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Kirkuk oil by truck to Iran, potentially leading to the construction of a long-discussed oil pipeline. If implemented, the agreement would provide Iraq’s federal government with a new alternative for monetizing oil produced in Kirkuk – reducing Baghdad’s dependence on the northern export system to Turkey’s Ceyhan port that is currently controlled by the Kurdistan […]

Saudi reopens Lebanon front in struggle with Iran

Saudi Arabia has opened a new front in its regional proxy war with Iran, threatening Tehran’s powerful ally Hezbollah and its home country Lebanon to try to regain the upper hand. A man walks past a banner in the mainly Sunni Beirut neighbourhood of Tariq al-Jadideh in Beirut, Lebanon November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir With Iranian power winning out in Iraq and Syria, and Riyadh bogged down in a war with Iran-allied groups in Yemen, the new Saudi approach could bring lasting political and economic turmoil to a country where Tehran had appeared ascendant. The resignation on Saturday of the Saudi-allied Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri, announced from Riyadh and blamed on Iran and Hezbollah, is seen by many as the first step in an unprecedented Saudi intervention in Lebanese politics. “The Saudis appear to have decided that the best way to confront Iran is to […]

An Iranian benchmark for oil just topped $60 per barrel

8 Nov 2017   Iran, Prices

After boasting of unprecedented economic growth, Iranian state media said the situation has improved after its benchmark for oil passed $60 per barrel. Iran Heavy crude breached $60 per barrel in early Tuesday trading, trading relatively on par with the basket of crude oil grades for OPEC members. Iran’s benchmark was trading at a discount of about $1 per barrel against the Dubai benchmark, but about $3 per barrel more than the U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate. The official Islamic Republic News Agency said oil prices are accelerating because of regional crises and the looming threat of violence in Nigeria. “Iran’s oil production is about 3.9 million barrels a day, including the 2.2 […]

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of ‘act of war against the kingdom’

7 Nov 2017   Iran, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has stepped up its bellicose rhetoric against Iran, with the powerful crown prince accusing the country’s regional arch-rival of supplying missiles to Yemeni rebels in “an act of war against the kingdom”. Mohammed bin Salman, whose weekend crackdown on corruption was endorsed by US President Donald Trump, accused Iran of “direct military aggression” according to the state news agency. Saudi air defences on Saturday intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen, causing debris to fall on an uninhabited area near Riyadh’s airport. Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, on Monday accused Saudi Arabia of engaging in wars of aggression and regional bullying, describing its actions as “destabilising behaviour and risky provocations”, with Riyadh blaming the consequences on the Islamic republic. The war of words across the Gulf has sent oil prices gyrating, with brent crude hitting a new two-year high of $64.65 in morning London trading before sharply selling off before midday. It also ratchets up the stakes in the stalemated proxy conflict in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia in 2015 led a coalition of Sunni states against the Houthi rebels, who are allied to Shia-led Iran. The conflict, leaving more than 10,000 dead, has created a humanitarian crisis in the impoverished Arab state.

Iran boasts of oil production gains since last year

7 Nov 2017   Iran

Iran says its total crude oil production since last year is up by about 1 million barrels per day. File photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI Nov. 6 (UPI) — A state-run oil company in Iran, one of OPEC’s largest producers, said its total crude oil production is up more than 1 million barrels per day from last year. The National Iranian South Oil Co., which accounts for about 80 percent of total Iranian oil production, said it supplied 2.9 million barrels of oil per day during the first half of the Iranian calendar year, which starts March 21. According to SHANA , total Iranian crude oil production is up more than 1 million barrels per day from last year. Abdolreza Dabiri, the director of production at the NISOC, said the gains were made possible by easing international sanctions and a stronger focus on domestic capabilities, as well as a skilled […]

France’s Total opens Washington office as Iran risks loom

4 Nov 2017   France, Iran, USA

Total has opened an office in Washington in a bid to strengthen relations with the U.S. administration as the French oil and gas company prepares to invest billions in Iran. Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne confirmed Total opened a government relations office, telling Reuters “we should have done a long time ago.” In July, Total became the first Western energy firm to sign a deal with Iran since the easing of international sanctions in 2015, agreeing to develop Phase 11 of the South Pars offshore gas field with a total investment of $5 billion. But the future of the project was thrown into doubt after President Donald Trump last month refused to certify Iran was complying with an international deal […]

Russia and Iran sign $30bn energy agreements

2 Nov 2017   Iran, Russia

Russia and Iran have signed agreements to collaborate on “strategic” energy deals worth up to $30bn that will involve energy groups such as Rosneft and Gazprom. Amir Hossein Zamaninia, Iran’s deputy oil minister for international affairs, said six provisional deals had been signed with Russian oil companies as part of a visit by President Vladimir Putin to Tehran on Wednesday. After years of sanctions, the government of Hassan Rouhani has sought to attract foreign companies to develop Iran’s energy sector.

The latest announcements come as Russia is building up its energy assets in the Middle East, as part of a wider diplomatic push to increase its economic and military clout in the region. Mr Zamaninia said the two countries agreed to “strategic co-operation in the energy sector”, ranging from development of Iran’s oil and gasfields to collaboration on research. Igor Sechin, chief executive of Russia’s state-controlled Rosneft, said its pact with the National Iranian Oil Company would be the first step before a “binding” deal to participate in Iran’s oil and gas projects over the next few years. “According to preliminary calculations, the overall amount of investments in the projects will total up to $30bn. When completed, the production plateau will reach 55m tonnes of oil per year,” Mr Sechin told journalists invited to the signing. Iran is particularly keen to strike deals with western players such Royal Dutch Shell to prove that the US’s hostility toward Iran has not scared off foreign investment.

However, oil experts say that, should the US re-impose crippling sanctions on Iran by the end of this year, Russian and Chinese firms could benefit from the lack of competition from western companies. Moscow has forged a close relationship with Saudi Arabia, Iran’s arch rival in the region, and has leveraged a supply curbs deal with Opec to strengthen ties with the kingdom in the energy and military sectors. Rosneft has also become a major financial supporter of Kurdistan, by acquiring a majority stake in the main oil pipeline in the northern Iraqi autonomous region. Iran needs $200bn of investments for upstream and downstream projects by 2021. Since Iran struck a nuclear deal with major powers in 2015, enabling many sanctions to be lifted, it has only signed one notable contract — a deal with France’s Total in July worth $4.8bn. Mr Sechin, a close associate

Russia’s Gazprom To Help Build Iran-India Gas Pipeline

2 Nov 2017   India, Iran, Russia

Russia’s state-controlled gas giant Gazprom will take part in a project for the construction of a gas pipeline between Iran and India, Russian media quoted Energy Minister Alexander Novak as saying on Wednesday. Russia and Iran are expected to sign today a memorandum of understanding on Gazprom’s participation in the Iranian oil and gas sector. By the end of this year, the parties will draft and sign the legal framework for the project, Novak said. Indian, Pakistani, Russian, and Iranian companies will be taking part in the project, the Russian minister said. According to Russian media, the pipeline is expected to be 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) long and will ship Iranian gas to India. The parties will begin work on the project next year, after they will have signed all the legal paperwork later this year, according to Novak. According to the Russian energy minister, there will be an […]

Supreme Leader Khamenei says U.S. is Iran’s ‘number one enemy’: TV

2 Nov 2017   Iran, USA

 The United States is Iran’s “number one enemy” and Tehran will never succumb to Washington’s pressure over a multinational nuclear deal, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech on Thursday. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves as he arrives to deliver a speech in Tehran, Iran, November 2, 2017. via REUTERS U.S. President Donald Trump broke ranks with other major powers last month by refusing to formally certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal. Under that deal, most sanctions on Iran were lifted in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear work. “America’s hostility is towards the Iranian nation … America is the number one enemy of our nation … We will never accept their bullying over the nuclear deal,” Khamenei said. Since the deal was reached in 2015, Khamenei has continued to denounce the United States publicly, suggesting that the […]

Asian imports of Iranian oil hit highest in six months

31 Oct 2017   Asia, Iran

Imports of Iranian crude by major buyers in Asia rose in September for a third straight month to their highest since March, boosted by a surge in purchases in China and South Korea.  China, India, South Korea and Japan imported slightly more than 1.9 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, up 5.1 percent from a year earlier, government and ship-tracking data showed. Their imports rose nearly 20 percent from August. Still, purchases from the Asian buyers remain below highs that were hit earlier this year and last year as Tehran ramped up exports following the lifting of economic sanctions, after it had agreed to constraints on its disputed nuclear program. Imports by the Asian buyers, […]

Barzani resigns, leaving unstable vacuum

30 Oct 2017   Iran

Iraqi Kurdistan fell deeper into political turmoil Sunday as acting President Massoud Barzani announced his resignation and violent protesters stormed the regional Parliament building. In a written statement delivered to Parliament, Barzani confirmed his tenure will end Nov. 1 – a victim of the independence referendum he championed, after which the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) lost control of Kirkuk and nearly half of its oil production.

Iran says it’s signed its first agreement tied to LNG

27 Oct 2017   Iran

Iran says its signed a novel agreement to sell gas slated for delivery as super-cooled liquefied natural gas. File photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI Oct. 26 (UPI) — An Iranian energy company said it signed its first-ever deal for the sale of gas slated for foreign delivery as super-cooled liquefied natural gas. SHANA, the Iranian oil ministry’s news website, said the National Iranian Oil Co. and a consortium controlled by Iranian and Norwegian companies signed the agreement for LNG. “The gas will be delivered by the floating liquefaction unit Caribbean FLNG, owned by Belgium’s Exmar, with 500,000 tons of LNG production capacity annually,” the report read. LNG has more options for delivery than conventional natural gas, which is bound by transnational pipelines that are sometimes exposed to geopolitical risk. The announcement comes one week after Pars Oil and Gas Co., the National Iranian South Oil Co., and a handful of […]

Fear of Iranian general left Iraqi Kurdish oil fields deserted

26 Oct 2017   Iran, Iraq

When the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shi‘ite militia entered a key oil processing facility in Iraq’s north to retake it from Kurdish Peshmerga forces last week, the installation was deserted and its alarm bells ringing. FILE PHOTO: An Iraqi flag is seen on a military vehicle at an oil field in Dibis area on the outskirts of Kirkuk, Iraq October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani/File Photo Engineers and workers on the facility, which processes oil from two major fields in the Kirkuk area of predominantly Sunni Kurdistan, had fled, fearing the military advance. “No one wanted to risk their life and decided to evacuate as stories about the Shi‘ite militia and Qassem Soleimani were spreading fast,” said a senior Kurdish oil industry source, referring to the head of foreign operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. The source declined to be identified. Iraqi engineers arrived to the sound […]

Trump’s tougher stance could backfire by boosting Iran’s Guards

23 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a military force with political clout and an industrial empire, stands to benefit from heightened tension between Washington and Tehran, officials and analysts said. FILE PHOTO: Members of the Iranian revolutionary guard march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo President Donald Trump broke ranks with other major powers earlier this month by disavowing Iran’s compliance with a 2015 multinational nuclear deal, complicating life for foreign investors nervous of possible new U.S. sanctions. The IRGC, which reports directly to Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, began rapidly expanding its commercial interests a decade ago, before U.S. and EU sanctions were imposed on Iran’s oil and finance sectors in 2012 over the country’s nuclear program. It controls businesses ranging from ports management to telecommunications and has made the most […]

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 […]