Warning of $80 oil price as sanctions on Iran bite


President Trump has declared that he intends to negotiate a new nuclear deal with Iran.

State-run producer Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco, is said to supply full contractual crude volumes to at least three buyers in Asia for October. Oil prices have gone up 50 percent since 2016.

The US administration has been given contradictory signals on the future course of implementing anti-Iran sanctions while dealing India. This first round of sanctions targeted Iran's automotive sector, its gold trade, and the Iranian rial.

The previous sanctions cut 1.22 million bpd of Iranian crude oil exports which averaged 1.1 million bpd between 2012 and 2015, the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies data shows. The US will also target business conducted by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran.

Iran imports gasoline because insufficient refining capacity and the previous round sanctions had prevented it from expanding its refinery base.

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"The worries about demand and a possible spillover from emerging markets are weighing on prices", Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro Bank NV, told Bloomberg. Opec last month said global growth faced "numerous challenges", although its latest report suggests concern about them has deepened.

Iran can find ways around this by selling its oil in other currencies like the Chinese yuan or Indian Rupee. The US has assured the Indians that adequate supplies are readily available that could be easily substituted for Iranian oil, the US official added.

Still, fears over a supply crunch remained, with Iran's output slumping by 150,000 barrels last month, according to Opec's monthly market report.

That means there is much less slack in the oil market than before.

"Our U.S. crude oil purchase is purely because of its price advantage", said Kim Woo-kyung, a spokeswoman at SK Innovation (096770.KS), the owner of South Korea's top refiner SK Energy.

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Russia, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are the world's three biggest oil producers by far, meeting about a third of the world's nearly 100-million barrels per day (bpd) of daily crude consumption.

In Venezuela too, production dipped in August to 1.24 million barrels a day, and should it continue to decline, may hit 1 million barrels a day at the end of 2018.

Similarly, Libya is in the midst of a bitter civil war. Next year, consumption is expected to increase slightly, reaching 950,000 million barrels per day. However, another bout of violence could easily send Libyan exports crashing again.

As per the analysts, some of the USA grades would be fit for Indian refiners, but they will have to battle commercially with crudes with shorter travel times, so United States oil could serve as spot purchases for Indian companies when the arbitrage works. Indeed, Fereidun Fesharaki, founder and chairman of consultancy FACTS Global Energy, has indicated that the loss of Iranian oil would be enough to send oil prices soaring to $100 a barrel. This time, not only crude oil, but oil products will be affected. When that happens, oil prices will readjust higher and could hit $100.

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