Oil surrenders gains as investors take profit on Iran-based rally

Posted May 12, 2018

Paul Hickin, the oil director at commodity pricing group Platts, told UPI that, with Iranian oil on its way out and Venezuela production at historic lows, OPEC may have to review its objectives.

It would be hard to replace Iranian oil given the "commercial terms" offered by Tehran, he said.

Brent crude could return to US$100 a barrel next year, or even sooner, Bank of America said, due to the ongoing collapse of Venezuelan output and risks to Iranian crude exports.

On Tuesday, Trump announced he would exit the landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal signed in 2015 with Iran and several other nations.

India, which has long-standing ties with Iran but also has close political relations with the United States, is Iran's top oil client after China.

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The US Treasury said oil sanctions on Iran won't take effect until November.

He said: "We believe the deal does not deal with Iran's ballistic missile program nor does it deal with Iran's support for terrorism".

Bob McNally, former President George W. Bush's top energy adviser, said the State Department is "fully able" to make the sanctions work but the administration still needs to define its goals.

"Today market participants are still taking a view on the impact of U.S. withdrawal from Iran deal and I think it is going to continue into next week after a meeting of the three European powers, China and Russian Federation with Iranians", Petromatrix oil analyst Olivier Jakob said. "Our oil industry's development will continue even if new sanctions are imposed on Iran". It will likely maintain its current import levels, around 500,000 bpd, along with state-backed insurance for oil shipments, unless Europe follows the U.S.in applying a new round of restrictions.

Crude Oil prices are stable because of market stability, he said, because OPEC's goal "is not prices but market stability and lowering storage levels". New sanctions will further consolidate Iran's oil customers into those less likely to pressure Iran for denuclearization or regime change, and will weaken the bargaining position of USA allies in further negotiations with Iran.

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Analysts also expect Saudi Arabia to be cautious and step in only to offset an actual supply loss, not an anticipated one.

Sure, you can point to tensions around the USA withdrawal for the Iranian nuclear accord or the total collapse of Venezuela oil production, but the seeds of the rally really go back further to a generational bottom that we predicted near $26 a barrel in 2016, to new super cycle where supplies soon would struggle to keep up with demand. Oil went up, the dollar went up, and the stock market was unchanged.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, could. Energy bureau officials controlled that problem through close coordination with other USA agencies, embassies overseas and local law enforcement, the former State Department officials said.

We will know more in three to six months how all the other parties to the deal, which regretted and criticised the U.S. decision, are doing in America's absence, and whether the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will still work.

"Trump's decision will not have any impact on our oil export", minister Zanganeh is quoted as saying on Iranian state television.

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