Iran says Trump can not bring oil prices down by 'bullying'

Roman Schwartz
October 17, 2018

The 11.21 million barrels places the country in second place of the most prolific oil producers in the world, behind the United States, who overtook both Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation earlier this year, according to EIA data as cited by CNN. "But right now Iran's oil has reached more than $80 [per barrel], and with half the previous exports we will have the same income as before", he said. "The government has no business to interfere in the pricing mechanism of petroleum products".

"We could have another (round of) unanticipated disruptions that we have seen in Nigeria, Libya, Venezuela".

Iran has lost some customers for its oil because of looming US sanctions, but high prices are making up for the lost sales, Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri has said. "These supply disruptions need a shock absorber and the shock absorber to a large extent has been Saudi Arabia", he said.

USA crude inventories fell by 2.1 million barrels last week, compared with analyst expectations for a build of 2.2 million barrels, American Petroleum Institute data showed after Tuesday's settlement.

Falih said oil prices would "easily be at the three digit range had it not been for the extra effort the kingdom has done over many years by investing in capacity and then unleashing that capacity, delivering barrels over last few months, reversing inventory draw down".

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While most oil analysts have attributed the sharp rise of premium crude prices since April to over $80 a barrel at least in part to the loss of Iranian exports, the USA special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, told reporters in Paris on October 15 that the market is doing fine with less Iranian oil.

Barrel prices have halted their recent decline as Iranian exports and Saudi tensions keep crude on the high side.

The market has been supported by reports that Iranian crude exports may be falling faster than expected ahead of November 4, the date sanctions on the commodity are due to start.

Falih also said Saudi Arabia wants to invest in Indian downstream projects and strategic oil storage. The two state-backed oil producers are taking a 50% stake in the project, which is expected to produce 1.2 million barrels per day, while the other half will be owned by a consortium of Indian refiners such as International Olympic Committee and BPCL.

Saudi Aramco has an initial pact to take a 25 percent stake in the planned 1.2 million bpd West Coast refinery.

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