Donald Trump, Saudi king discuss oil markets, no mention of production plans

Virginia Carson
July 3, 2018

Imports from Iran, which now is India's third largest supplier of oil after Iraq and Saudi Arabia, are likely to come down and will have to be replaced with more purchases from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, they said, adding imports from Iran after November 4 will be possible only if Iran accepts alternates like rupee payments.

"The two leaders agreed that balancing the global oil market is essential to ensure access to reliable and affordable energy to people everywhere", it said.

Jordan added: "It's noteworthy that the Saudis did not want to say that they are committed in any official output level, that they would be inclined to have any financial dealings with Iran in the face of any possible USA sanctions".

"(India) has asked refiners to be prepared for any eventuality, since the situation is still evolving.

Indian oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters in Mumbai that the country would attend to its interests while deciding on oil imports.

While we may have the same position as to the similar announcement from any of our non-OPEC partners i.e. Russia, but I call upon Your Excellency, as the President of the OPEC Conference to uphold and safeguard the long-term principles, unity and interests of the OPEC at this historic juncture. Among its disclosures are what it says has been its expenditure, along with its project partners, of more than US$24 million with more than 300 local suppliers past year.

China's yuan slipped to a new low against the US -dollar on Friday CNHUSD=R and despite a slight recovery was on course for its worst month on record, as the increasingly bitter trade row with the United States threatened to rattle the world's second-biggest economy.

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Iran may be left with few options beyond convincing China to buy more of its oil, risking over-reliance on what's already its biggest customer.

FGE, an energy consultancy, said in its June newsletter that the U.S. is determined to "push Iran's exports to zero".

That raises the odds of a much more serious outage from Iran than previously expected.

Trump's aim may be to exert maximum pressure on Iran while at the same time not upsetting potential US midterm voters with higher gas prices, said Antoine Halff, a Columbia University researcher and former chief oil analyst for the International Energy Agency.

Haley, now in Delhi, spoke with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo early on Wednesday, before meeting Modi.

And there is continuing uncertainty over future Iranian production, given President Donald Trumps move to re-instate sanctions on Iran.

The Trump administration indicated that the White House would look to sanction countries that don't reduce their imports of Iranian crude to "zero" by November. 4.

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"Our resolution does not allow any member to produce more than their quota", Iran's OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said.

Under pressure from the United States sanctions, Reliance Industries Ltd, the operator of the world's biggest refining complex, has made a decision to halt imports. "Indian private players have clearly stated that they are going to reduce Iranian imports while Japanese and Korean refiners will comply predominantly" with United States pressure, she said.

Four months and a week from now, India may be on slippery ground with an oil problem.

There was no confirmation, however, that the Saudi regime would boost its oil production, as claimed in Trump's tweet. Growing concerns over US' relations with major oil producers like Iran and Venezuela is threatening the market.

His latest comments come a week after ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries - of which Saudi Arabia is the major member - agreed to raise output from July.

Almost 4 million barrels of USA crude are due to arrive in Japan, the world's fourth biggest oil importer, between June and September, according to the sources and Thomson Reuters Eikon shipping data.

Despite the trade dispute, oil supply is tight. But, it still could continue imports if Iran accepts an alternative payment or offers a longer credit period.

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"We're going to isolate streams of Iranian funding and looking to highlight the totality of Iran's malign behaviour across the region", says the official. "Finding replacement barrels is not a problem, but it has to give the best economic value", a third source in New Delhi said.

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