Friday, September 29, 2023
HomeHeadlinesUS May Allow More Iran Oil to Flow Even Without Deal


To our FREE newsletter
Get all the latest maritime news delivered straight to your inbox.

US May Allow More Iran Oil to Flow Even Without Deal

The US may allow more sanctioned Iranian oil onto global markets even without a revival of the 2015 nuclear accord, according to the biggest independent crude trader.

While a new agreement would limit Iran’s atomic activities and ease US sanctions on its energy exports, talks between Tehran and world powers have stalled since March. Oil traders are increasingly pessimistic that negotiators will strike a deal.

Still, US President Joe Biden could decide that the need to bring down record-high pump prices ahead of November’s midterm elections outweighs the benefit of strictly enforcing sanctions, including by seizing more Iranian oil tankers.

“Uncle Sam might just allow a little bit more of that oil to flow,” Mike Muller, head of Asia at Vitol Group, said Sunday on a podcast produced by Dubai-based Gulf Intelligence. “If the midterms are dominated by the need to get gas prices lower in America, turning a somewhat greater blind eye to the sanctioned barrels flowing out is probably something you might expect to see. US intervention in these flows has always been pretty sparse.”

Chances of Reviving Iran Nuclear Pact Shrinking, EU Says

The US confiscated oil from an Iranian-flagged vessel off Greece last month, which was followed days later by Tehran detaining two Greek tankers in the Persian Gulf. But Washington’s move is unlikely to signal the start of more tanker seizures by the US, according to Muller.

Iran has raised oil exports this year, most of them ending up in China. A new nuclear deal would lead to an additional 500,000 to 1 million barrels per day coming on to international markets, enough to weigh on prices, according to energy analysts. The Islamic Republic also has around 100 million barrels of oil in storage that could be sold down quickly.

Crude prices have soared more than 50% this year to almost $120 a barrel, mostly because of the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While many Republicans and some Democrats oppose any lifting of Iranian sanctions, Biden is under plenty of pressure to lower gasoline prices, which have shot up to an average of more than $4.80 per gallon in the US.

Never Been Wider

There’s little consensus about the direction of oil prices, according to Vitol, which traded 7.6 million barrels of crude and refined products a day in 2021. While supplies are tight, Washington’s release of strategic reserves is helping balance the market.

Thursday’s decision by OPEC+ — a 23-nation group of producers led by Saudi Arabia and Russia — to accelerate output increases is unlikely to have much impact, Muller said. That’s because many members will struggle to pump more and Moscow’s exports could drop due to sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

“The range of expert opinion out there has never been wider,” said Muller, who’s based in Singapore. “There are people who think the market’s going to $135-$140 a barrel. And there are people who think we’re going below $100 again.”

Two Worlds

There’s also a dichotomy emerging between richer and poorer countries, he said. Some in Asia such as Malaysia and Singapore are experiencing a demand rebound as coronavirus lockdowns ease. Others including Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which has defaulted on international bonds and is struggling to pay for fuel imports, are experiencing demand destruction.

“It’s a tale of two worlds,” Muller said. “The affluent world is going to have their holidays and burn jet fuel. But the impact elsewhere is a lot more profound. The divide between the prosperous and the countries that have a lower ability to pay for commodities is becoming extremely stark.”

Source: Bloomberg

Related Posts


Finance & Economy
Shipping News

Star Bulk Announces the Repurchase of 10 Million of Its Common Shares

Star Bulk announced that it entered into a Repurchase Agreement (with OCM XL Holdings, LP, a limited partnership incorporated in the Cayman Islands, pursuant...

Trafigura announces executive leadership changes

Trafigura Group Pte Ltd. has announced an evolution of its executive team to further strengthen leadership and focus across its global activities during a...

Woori, HMM, KOBC to buy Polaris in prospective $448 mln deal – report

Polaris Shipping Co. is poised to sell its entire stake at around 600 billion won ($447.5 million) to Woori Private Equity Asset Management Co....

Pyxis Tankers Announces Closing of Ultramax JV Investment

Pyxis Tankers, an international shipping company, reported that on September 14, 2023, the Company closed on its previously announced newly formed drybulk joint venture...

Korea’s STX denies rumor that it is backed by Chinese fund

South Korean general trading company STX Corp. has said its largest shareholder is a local investment firm, while refuting the false reports appearing through...

Baltic index scales 11-month peak on strong capesize rates

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry...

Baltic index scales over 9-month high on capesize surge

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry...

Baltic index rises to over 4-month high on stronger capesize rates

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry...

Houston-Japan VLGC freight rates reach multi-year high

VLGC freight rates from Houston to Chiba, Japan, reached $245/mt Sept. 21 for the...

Baltic index snaps 11-session rally as rates for larger vessels ease

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk...

Drewry: Port Throughput Index Down 2.1% in July

The Global Container Port Throughput Index fell 2.1% MoM in July 2023, with the small rises recorded in Africa and Oceania having been insufficient...

Vopak: Agreement with Infracapital on sale of Rotterdam chemical terminals

Vopak announces that it has reached an agreement with Infracapital on the sale of its three chemical terminals in Rotterdam (Botlek, TTR and Chemiehaven)...

Port Hedland Iron Ore Exports Edge Up 4% in August

Pilbara Ports Authority has delivered a total monthly throughput of 62.8 million tonnes (Mt) for August 2023, consistent with the August 2022 throughput. The Port...

Thessaloniki, Gdańsk ports to explore synergies

Thessaloniki Port Authority S.A is expanding its role as a port of international importance through a new cooperation with the Port of Gdańsk Authority...

Hapag-Lloyd CEO: Counteroffer for HHLA would not be in our interest

Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen said on Thursday that it would not be in the container shipper’s interest to make an offer for HHLA...