Japan reiterates support for Iran nuclear deal

WTI Crude Oil

WTI Crude Oil

British Prime Minister Theresa May and Trump agreed in a phone call that talks were needed to discuss how US sanctions on Iran would affect foreign companies operating in the country.

Speculators are driving the momentum which is pushing WTI and Brent crude oil prices higher.

The same source went on to add that Saudi Arabia will not fill the gap on its own, but is working on possible solutions with the United Arab Emirates (the UAE is the current holder of the OPEC presidency for 2018) and Russian Federation (as a party to the agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers). "The United States no longer makes empty threats".

Thanks to OPEC's efforts to normalize the crude oil market in the wake of the 2014 price war, crude oil prices have almost tripled from their early 2016 low and are up 22 percent just since February.

Argus Media points out that roughly 70 percent of Iranian oil exports have gone to Asia under annual contracts, which means "meaningful cuts to imports would be unlikely to come in until early next year". European Union imports from Iran grew nearly tenfold since the sanctions were lifted-from 1.25 billion euros ($1.48 billion) in 2015 to 10.14 billion euros previous year. The International Energy Agency said restoring sanctions on Iran, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, "may have implications for the market balance".

Saudi Arabia is expected to fill much of that gap.

Riyadh has already pledged to limit any disruption to supply.

Malik estimated Saudi oil revenues, SAR440bn ($117.3bn) in 2017, could be 7 to 9 per cent higher this year than they would have been without Trump's decision. Goldman said it is possible that Iran loses 500,000 bpd by the end of the year, which would push up oil prices by more than $6 per barrel.

Brent Crude
Daily July Brent Crude

In other, possibly smaller ways, Trump's decision is bad news for some countries in the Gulf. "There will be more negativity, more highlighting of the risks", said one UAE banker. The cartel - led by Saudi Arabia - and 10 outside producers, including Russian Federation, have been holding back crude output by around 1.8 million barrels a day since the start of 2017. The EU, China and Russian Federation have said they are sticking with the deal.

But while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talked up the prospect of renewed coordination with America's allies, another top aide reminded Europe its companies could face sanctions if they continue to do business with the Middle Eastern power.

The biggest single buyer of Iran's crude is China, whose imports peaked at about 900,000 bpd in mid-2016 but have dropped to around 600,000 bpd in 2018, according to Thomson Reuters ship-tracking data.

Oman, which has been hoping Iranian investment will support industrial expansion plans, may suffer.

Over the next few months Iranian oil exports will likely decline by approximately 15%.

Israel and Iran have exchanged fire in Syria - with USA officials warning it is most likely place in the world to escalate into war.

Sourcing from Iran increased to 12.7 MT in 2015-16, giving it the sixth spot. Given recent developments in North Korea, it could also convince Iran's leaders that the only way to be heard and respected by the U.S.is to become nuclear-capable, sparking a resumption of its atomic weapons program.

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