USA exempts India-backed port in Iran from sanctions

09 November, 2018, 15:43 | Author: Carlos George
  • Crude Oil

USA crude stocks climbed by 7.8 million barrels in the week ending November 2 to 432 million, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday.

According to Refinitiv Eikon data, Iranian crude exports have fallen to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) so far in November, down from nearly 2 million bpd in October and around 3 million bpd in mid-2018.

Oil's slump has been exacerbated by a US decision to allow eight countries to continue importing from Iran even after it hits the OPEC member with sanctions.

U.S West Texas Intermediate crude prices were down almost 1 percent to roughly $61 per barrel in midday trading, down about 20 percent from record prices of $76.41 a barrel in early October, and fell as low as $60.83.

Chabahar is the only Iranian port with direct access to the Indian Ocean.

That is likely to play out in the form of weaker demand for oil.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.95 per barrel, up 28 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their previous settlement.

Despite sanctions against Iranian oil exports are in place since November 4, the United States will allow some oil importers to keep buying from Iran for around six more months, putting to rest any attempt of recovery in prices.

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The sanctions that went into force on November 7 target Iran's energy, financial, and shipping sectors and result from President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from Iran's 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, which had lifted the sanctions for a time.

With the United States granting eight countries (including Turkey, but though to include India, Japan and South Korea), Iranian exports will end up higher than previously though for the next six months. Tehran is planning to increase condensate production to one million bpd by 2021 with new phases of the South Pars development, he added. "That number will fall farther", Pompeo said.

Russia, itself a target of separate USA sanctions, expected there would be ways to pursue economic cooperation with Iran despite the U.S. sanctions, he added.

Those eight countries are Iran's biggest customers and account for around three-quarters of the Islamic Republic's oil exports.

"The U.S. has for now given a lifeline to Iran", said Olivier Jakob, managing director at Petromatrix GmbH in Zug, Switzerland.

The price of oil, as measured by its U.S. benchmark, has entered bear market territory - in other words, a fall of 20% or more from its peak - in barely a month.

China National Petroleum said it was still taking oil from Iranian fields in which it has stakes. The granting of the waivers and pledges from Saudi Arabia to fill any supply gaps has since led oil prices to hover $75 a barrel. The Trump administration pushed governments to reduce Iranian oil imports to zero with related sanctions. Including condensate, an ultra-light form of crude, shipments peaked around 3 million bpd in mid-2018, according to trade data in Refinitiv Eikon.

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