Archive for July 2018

Oil to hold steady into 2019 as OPEC, U.S. compensate for supply hitches

July 31, 2018


FILE PHOTO: A pump jack operates at a well site leased by Devon Energy Production Company near Guthrie, Oklahoma September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo

July 31, 2018 By Sumita Layek One America News Network

Source Link:
Oil to hold steady into 2019 as OPEC, U.S. compensate for supply hitches

Bonus Link:
Tehran: Trump Wrong to Expect Saudis to Cover Loss of Iran Oil Supply

{There you have it folks. Iran’s feeble attempt to hold the world hostage with its oil is now moot. See the companion article below and in the Bonus Link. – LS}

Oil prices are likely to hold fairly steady this year and next as increased output from OPEC and the U.S. meets growing demand led by Asia and helps to offset supply disruptions from Iran and elsewhere, a Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.

A survey of 44 economists and analysts forecast Brent crude to average $72.87 a barrel in 2018, 29 cents higher than the $72.58 projected in the previous month’s poll and above the $71.68 average so far this year.

U.S. crude futures were seen averaging $67.32 a barrel in 2018, compared with $66.79 forecast last month and an average of $66.16 until now.

This is the 10th consecutive month in which analysts have raised their oil price forecasts.

“We expect prices will largely remain range-bound in the second half of 2018 and 2019. On the one hand, robust U.S. shale production and market concerns over the brewing U.S.-China trade war will help keep a lid on prices,” said Cailin Birch, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“On the other hand, the recent decline in global stocks will make prices more sensitive to any geopolitical risk, which will keep prices from falling significantly below current levels.”

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC countries agreed to raise supply in a meeting last month to meet rising global demand, but the group did not specify a clear target for the output increase.

Meanwhile, U.S. sanctions on Iran that will come into force later this year will force a decline in exports and help support prices, analysts said.

“The disruption to Iranian barrels will weigh on oil markets in the second half of 2018 and H1 2019 as there are few spare barrels in the market that can offset a big disruption to Iranian supplies,” said Emirates NBD commodities analyst Edward Bell.

The United States pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran in early May casting uncertainty over global oil supplies, and since then it has been preparing to work with countries to help them to cut Iran oil imports.

Analysts expect a drop of about 500,000-1 million barrels per day (bpd) in Iranian output due to the sanctions.

But they also said the ongoing global trade tensions could hurt demand.

“A trade war will slow down economic growth and demand for oil but also eventually spill over into other asset classes, mostly equities, that can have an impact on oil prices through a negative market sentiment,” Jette Jørgensen of Global Risk Management Ltd said.

Analysts continued to see Asia as the main demand driver, projecting an additional 800,000-900,000 bpd in demand this year and the next from the region.

“The market is facing different questions — Is global demand slowing due to weakening worldwide economic growth, will U.S. production keep up its incredible pace, will output in Venezuela keep plummeting, what will U.S. sanctions do to Iranian production, and is OPEC really willing to raise output up to 1 mbpd!” Frank Schallenberger, head of commodity research at LBBW, said.

Tehran: Trump Wrong to Expect Saudis to Cover Loss of Iran Oil Supply

July 31, 2018


FILE – Gas flares from an oil production platform at the Soroush oil fields in the Persian Gulf, south of Tehran, July 25, 2005.

July 31, 2018 7:13 AM Reuters

Source Link:
Tehran: Trump Wrong to Expect Saudis to Cover Loss of Iran Oil Supply

Bonus Link:
Oil to hold steady into 2019 as OPEC, U.S. compensate for supply hitches

{What a load of bull flop. Iran is overplaying their importance once again. Let that sink in for awhile and then read my next post referenced in the bonus link and shown above. Believe me when I say, Donald J. Trump has this covered. – LS}

LONDON —

Iran said on Tuesday U.S. President Donald Trump was mistaken to expect Saudi Arabia and other oil producers to compensate for supply losses caused by U.S. sanctions on Iran, after OPEC production rose only modestly in July.

The comments, from Iran’s OPEC governor, came a day after a Reuters survey showed OPEC production rose by 70,000 barrels per day in July. Saudi production increased but was offset by a decline in Iranian supply due to the restart of U.S. sanctions, the survey found.

“It seems President Trump has been taken hostage by Saudi Arabia and a few producers when they claimed they can replace 2.5 million barrels per day of Iranian exports, encouraging him to take action against Iran,” Hossein Kazempour Ardebili told Reuters. “Now they and Russia sell more oil and more expensively. Not even from their incremental production but their stocks.”

He said oil prices, which Trump has been pressuring the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to bring down by raising output, will rise unless the United States grants waivers to buyers of Iranian crude.

“They are also calling for the use of the U.S. SPR [Strategic Petroleum Reserve]. This will also mean higher prices. U.S. waivers to our clients if they come is due to the failure of bluffers [Saudi and the other producers] and, if not given, will again push the prices higher,” he said.

“So they hanged him [Trump] on the wall. Now they want to have a mega OPEC, congratulations to President Trump, Russia and Saudi Arabia.”

OPEC governors represent their respective country on the organization’s board of governors and are typically the second most senior person in a country’s OPEC delegation after the oil minister.

“The longer-term solution, Mr President, is to support and facilitate capacity building in all countries, proportionate to their reserves of oil and gas. And we will remain the biggest opportunity,” Kazempour said.

US must return to nuclear deal before future talks with Tehran – Rouhani aide

July 31, 2018
https://www.rt.com/news/434692-iran-us-talks-deal/
A nuclear power plant in Bushehr, Iran. October 2010. / Reuters
A return to the 2015 nuclear deal is the key to future talks between the US and Iran, an adviser to President Hassan Rouhani said. President Donald Trump is ready to negotiate, but believes the existing deal is “a waste of paper.”

“Respecting the Iranian nation’s rights, reducing hostilities and returning to the nuclear deal are steps that can be taken to pave the bumpy road of talks between Iran and America,” Hamid Aboutalebi tweeted on Tuesday.

Read more

Hassan Rouhani at a newsconference during the UN General Assembly in September 2017.  © Stephanie Keith

He was commenting on remarks made by Trump a day earlier, when the US leader said he was open to talks with Iran “anytime they want” without preconditions. The proposal represented a drastic change of tone, considering that last week Trump was embroiled in threatening exchanges with the Iranian leadership. This included a warning to President Rouhani that Iran could face “CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” in an all-caps tweet.

Relations between the two nations had reached a low point since Trump unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program in May. The move was widely condemned by China, Russia and even the EU, who are all also signatories of the deal. Washington has since hit Iran with a new round of sanctions and announced a plan to block the country’s oil trade.

Back in May, Trump called the Iran deal “defective at its core,” and his opinion didn’t seem to change. Speaking about possible US-Iran talks, the president explicitly ruled out the possibility of keeping the existing deal, calling it “a waste of paper.”

Iran, on the other hand, made it clear that the Islamic Republic is against changing the JCPOA. “We will neither outsource our security, nor will we renegotiate or add on to a deal we have already implemented in good faith,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Al Jazeera last week.

Iran’s compliance with the 2015 deal has been repeatedly confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Syria proclaims control of borders with Israel = Iranian/Hizballah forces now face IDF Golan positions

July 31, 2018

Source: Syria proclaims control of borders with Israel = Iranian/Hizballah forces now face IDF Golan positions – DEBKAfile

Three glaring inaccuracies appeared in the Syrian claim on Tuesday, July 31, that its army had won control of the entire border with Israel, which failed to credit Hizballah and pro-Iranian Shiites.

  1. Hizballah and Shiite militias commanded by Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers, in fact, fought the winning battle for the Syrian-Israeli border regions – not the Syrian army’s 4th
  2. “The Syria Special Forces” credited with the feat is a euphemism for “The Local Defense Forces” – itself a code-word for a Shiite unit run by Hizballah officers and local mercenaries in Hizballah’s pay. Its commander does not take its orders from the Syrian general command, but directly from Iranian Revolutionary Guards centers in Syria. DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that, by now, these “Local Defense Forces” have set up headquarters in the Quneitra region at Tel Mashara and Mashara the town.
    An Israeli officer relayed a hurried request through IDF channels to the Russian command in Khmeimim, as them to protect the population which had fallen under Syrian-Iranian-Hizballah control after being long allied with and aided by Israel. This request to save lives was not only belated, but futile. The Russians, having abetted the Syrian/Iranian conquest of southwestern Syria, are now gone from the area. President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu have therefore reneged on their reiterated pledge to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to appoint a Russian officer at the head of the Syrian units entering the border regions as a guarantee that pro-Iranian elements would not move in with them. This was the last of a row of commitments which the Russians failed to uphold.
    Going by past instances, the incoming Syrian “special forces” will now start a process of “selection” to establish which parts of the population collaborated with Israel. We we will soon start hearing about mass executions.
  3. The battle for the Yarmuk valley is not over, as the Syrians maintain. True, the roughly one thousand Khalid bin Walid Army fighters loyal to the Islamic State have no chance against the onslaught mounted on them in the last corner of the border. But for now, they are still holding out in 50 sq.km of the pocket that controls the Syrian-Israeli-Jordanian border intersection, They are also armed with Grad ground-to-ground rockets, two of which landed in the Sea of Galilee on July 25.

So what happened to the solemn promises never to allow pro-Iranian and Hizballah forces to reach the Israeli border and certainly not to set up bases in Syria, that were heard week after week from Israel’s top leaders, such as the prime minister, the defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, senior cabinet ministers Naftali Bennett and Yoav Galant and the IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkot? The new photo attached to this article clearly attests to those hostile forces already sitting on fences within sight of the IDF’s positions on the Golan border.

Russian ambassador to Israel: We can’t force Iran out of Syria

July 31, 2018

Source: Russian ambassador to Israel: We can’t force Iran out of Syria – Israel Hayom

Trump offers to meet Iran’s leader ‘anytime’ without preconditions

July 31, 2018

Source: Trump offers to meet Iran’s leader ‘anytime’ without preconditions – Israel Hayom

Marking significant shift in tone, U.S. president says: “We’re ready to make a real deal, not the deal that was done by the previous administration, which was a disaster” • Iranian president reportedly rejected eight requests by Trump for one-on-one meetings.

Report: Iran Illicitly Financing War in Yemen Using German Companies

July 30, 2018

by TheTower.org Staff | 07.30.18 1:33 pm

Source Link:
Report: Iran Illicitly Financing War in Yemen Using German Companies

{Germany’s dealings with Iran is having a direct impact on stability in the Middle East. – LS}

The Islamic Republic of Iran is using German companies to disguise their illicit support for Shiite militia forces in the fight against the internationally recognized government of Yemen, Benjamin Weinthal reported in The Jerusalem Post on Friday.

Based on interviews with U.S. Treasury Department officials, Time Magazine revealed last week that, “The IRGC had then printed counterfeit Yemeni banknotes potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars and used the bogus rials to fund its proxy war against the beleaguered pro-US government in the capital of Sanaa. German companies were being used as a cover by the Iranians to finance the world’s worst humanitarian conflict.”

Time added: “For several years, Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had been using German front companies to buy advanced printing machinery, watermarked paper and specialty inks in violation of European export controls.”

The Jerusalem Post previously reported on German intelligence reports, which revealed extensive links between the Islamic Republic and German-based companies, including using front companies to engage in illicit procurement of nuclear and missile technology in Germany during 2017. A German intelligence report from the city-state of Hamburg charged in July that Iran’s regime is continuing to seek weapons of mass destruction.

According to Time: “The evidence, uncovered by U.S. illicit-finance investigators, was meant to sway the Germans, but not just in hopes of countering Iran’s moves on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula” but also “to convince Berlin that Tehran cannot be trusted and that the Germans should join the Trump Administration in imposing economy-crippling sanctions on Iran.”

Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported on Monday that Germany’s Ambassador to Iran Michael Klor-Berchtold told an Iranian official that Germany opposes the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

The report charged that U.S. officials involved in the operation met with their German counterparts at the Federal Ministry of Finance in Berlin last April. Weeks after the meeting took place, “American officials presented their hosts with one last set of documents: detailed blueprints on how the Trump Administration was preparing to unleash financial warfare on the Iranian economy.”

The Trump administration designated the IRGC a terrorist organization in October. A U.S. State Department spokesman said in March that the U.S. expects the Europeans to “cut off funding to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC], its militant proxies, and anyone else who contributes to Iran’s support for terrorism.”

[Photo: John Smytsky / YouTube ]