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Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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Iran Prepares For Oil Production Decline

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Iran expects disruption in its oil industry after the reintroduction of U.S. sanctions that would make it hard to stick to its current production goals, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said over the weekend, when he met with EU’s Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete.

Iranian state news agency Shana quoted Zanganeh as saying achieving its stated daily production target of 4.2 million barrels of crude would be “difficult but we would not put that aside. It might take more time, but we will not do away with it.”

Iran would probably rely mostly on its two biggest buyers, China and India, to boost its production closer to this target, but it would also need the help of the European Union, which is also a big buyer of Iranian crude.

"I believe if the EU helps us and honors its statements, the level of Iran's oil exports will remain intact and this would not be a reason for changing a decision made in the past," Zanganeh said.

China and India, as well as the EU, have clearly indicated they had no intention of changing their buying habits regarding Iranian crude, with the EU specifically signaling it would make an effort to uphold the Iran nuclear deal and shield companies doing business in the country from U.S. sanctions. Related: Is $70 Oil Enough For Shale Drillers?

Still, Tehran is looking for backup plans: China’s CNPC, which partnered with French Total on the Phase 11 development of the South Pars gas field, has already said it was ready to take over the French company’s share of the project should it be forced to leave it if the U.S. Treasury does not grant it a sanction waiver.

As part of EU’s efforts to continue doing business with Iran, the European Commission said last week in a statement that "The commission is encouraging member states to explore the possibility of one-off bank transfers to the Central Bank of Iran. This approach could help the Iranian authorities to receive their oil-related revenues, particularly in case of U.S. sanctions which could target EU entities active in oil transactions with Iran."

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com


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  • Mamdouh G Salameh on May 21 2018 said:
    If the Iranian oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, means by disruption Iran being unable to achieve a production target of 4.2 million barrels a day (mbd), then this has nothing to do with the forthcoming US sanctions.

    Iran has never managed since 2000 to achieve its OPEC production quota of 4 mbd. The reason is that Iran’s oil industry is dilapidated with many of its oil reservoirs damaged since the days of the Shah when Iran’s production jumped from 2 mbd to 6 in 1979. The industry needs investments estimated at $150-$200 to repair the reservoirs.

    Iran will not lose a single barrel of oil exports as a result of the re-introduction of US sanctions. More than 75% of Iran’s oil exports go to China and the Asia-Pacific region while the remaining 25% go mostly to the European Union (EU). China, India and other Asia-Pacific region countries as well as the EU are not going to comply with US sanctions and reduce their imports of Iranian crude.

    Moreover, Iran will be using the petro-yuan for payment for its oil exports to China, the euro for its exports to the EU and barter trade with Russia, India and many other countries around the world thus bypassing the petrodollar altogether and nullifying the impact of the sanctions.

    China’s CNBC which partnered with French Total on the Phase II development of the South Pars gas field, has already said it was ready to take over the French company’s share of the project should it be forced to leave it if the US Treasury does not grant it a sanction waiver. However, the possibility of Total getting a waiver is nil since ExxonMobil applied twice for a waiver for its investment in the Russian Arctic and was rejected by the US Treasury.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • Filip S. on May 22 2018 said:
    Yea as the person before me wrote correct... Iran production chart back to ~100 or ~110 years (1907 I think after 7 long years not far from todays Iraqi border, near the back than small city with many nomads, Knox D'arcy (British?) got rich by Gold mines in Australia but by 1907 he was really without any money left, the German Empire was upgrading its fleet and Churchill was No. 1 somehow (ok maybe after the QUeen or Commander of all Forces, but he was the Royal Navy chief or so,

    because of him they build oil-ship as much as possible in the quite short time and converted some older, or they used a method to spray very small amounts of oil or even already refined oil product over the coal, and the coal got it, like cars get new color with this color "pistols" I would call them^^ This oil-coal also increased speed/range and reduced the extreme dark smoke which 100% German ships having coal or even only lignite (brown),

    only submarines (if you can call WW1 deathtraps submarines) got a bit oil and the aircraft as too but inlike WW 2 they had average weaker motor/engine than your average private automobile in USA/Europe/OECD got if its not a smart or so... Romania once again was the only source for Germany, limited by 1914, with very little amounts from Austria-Hungary...

    The guy who searched was a known expert and he had the order by the now poor D'arcy to come back but stayed near Masdsched Soleyman in Khuzestan. Today a smaller City with I think over 100k persons, back than a small village with most people being nomands far far away from Teheran and in difficult territory... only because the explorer stayed they found it, as only very short time after he got the order to come back they woke up in a hot summer night in 1907 from an explosion... 3 days the oil was flowing or better "shooting" out of the rig into heights of up to 30 meters, with millions of liters oil coming out from that one single rig (it was detroyed at least the tower as the oil made its way so that it could shoot up so high, such a pressure was there, Churchill heard it and immediately gave priority, financial and menpower (locals, but better paid than other similiar workers), in over 4 years they managed to build a first 1,000bpd (imagine lol, such a work for a 1,000bpd pipeline... well it was 1907... later it was of course upgraded to a much larger diameter and much stronger pumps, in Abadan by 1912 the Oil complexes were ready, being the largest single refinery and petrochemical complex in the world, this was once again a major reason, also did this oil play a very large role in WW2 as it was delivered to the Soviet Union or sometimes maybe to Asia because Sues Canal was too dangerous, like gibraltar, maybe a few were going around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa but I don't think because of the range and needed new fuel in South Africa or South-West (Angola, Namiba) or today Tanzania, Zimbabwe in the East... I think in Zimbabwe it was already good when the head of state of such a state had a good modern a bit luxury car, open, like the sooo often showed scene with Hitler driving through his "real" home city in Linz I think as he said... a open car, 4 doors, a nice pre-war build Mercedes unaffordable for almost all Germans or Austrians.

    Venezuela is the same... BP listed them as 512 billion (!) barrels reserves after including the other third of worldwide oil sands (or more correct would be Bitumen sands...) to the large conventional, the oil there is very heavy and onshore a lot and offshore, and the sands of course onshore^^ They could much more than Saudi Arabia by the reserve:production quotas, but now they even didn't or couldn't (corruption so extreme? Inflation often was at or over 1,000% per year in the last 30-40 years, only Chavez made it a bit stable, but after his dead... now Venezuela is down from 2.3 million (which is also very low for such a country) first to ~1.5 million and only 1 week later they reported ~1.4 million and decreasing if they don't pay all the workers (PDVSA has over 75,000 employees!) repair equipment which is from World War 2 time in some cases (as it was in Iraq before the US invasion), and invest in complete new complexes, since the old Maracaibo onshore and only few meters away from the beach offshore production in high amounts for that time, today they need to go a bit deeper and/or more outside or inside the country away from the coast... I mean even Canada produces I think over 3.5 million bpd and is the top US source since..... very long time^^ oil sands at 80$ or more prices are attractive, same with US, but I saw a chart, the shale oil is only very short living, I had in mind Bakken and Eagle Ford as THE important producers, the graphic showed from december 2014 I think until december 2017, one month Eagle Ford was at 0 (repair?) and after this only very very little... Permian Basin is the new one and makes up over 2/3rd of the current shale oil production, Bakken very low too...

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