• 5 minutes Iran Says It Arrested 17 CIA Spies, Some Sentenced To Death
  • 9 minutes Will We Ever See 100$+ OIL?
  • 13 minutes Iran downs US drone. No military response . . Just Destroy their economy. Can Senator Kerry be tried for aiding enemy ?
  • 2 hours Iran Loses $130,000,000 Oil Revenue Every Day They Continue Their Games . . . .Opportunity Lost . . . Will Never Get It Back. . . . . LOL .
  • 10 hours Oil Giant Saudi Arabia Is Set to Start First Wind-Power Plant
  • 4 hours How is E&P of Marginal Oil on the UKCS Similar to the Shale Oil Operations in the US?
  • 9 mins Renewables provided only about 4% of total global energy needs in 2018
  • 7 hours So You Think We’re Reducing Fossil Fuel? — Think Again
  • 5 hours Berkeley becomes first U.S. city to ban natural gas in new homes
  • 9 hours EIA Reports Are Fraudulent : EIA Is Conspiring With Trump To Keep Oil Prices Low
  • 5 hours N.Y. Governor Signs Climate Bill
  • 20 hours First limpet mines . . . . now fly a drone at low altitude directly at U.S. Navy ship. Think Iran wanted it taken out ? Maybe ? YES
  • 19 hours Today in Energy
  • 16 hours Which is a better domain name for OAPEC?
  • 3 hours U.S. Administration Moves To End Asylum Protections For Central Americans
  • 13 hours Shale Oil will it self destruct?
Tim Daiss

Tim Daiss

I'm an oil markets analyst, journalist and author that has been working out of the Asia-Pacific region for 12 years. I’ve covered oil, energy markets…

More Info

Premium Content

Will The Middle East Ever Lose Its Control Over Oil Markets?

It’s only been a few years ago, amid the ramp-up in U.S. shale oil production, that many thought the country would replace Saudi Arabia as global oil markets swing producer - a with good reason. Amid the wonders of fracking to unlock millions of barrels of previously unprofitable oil, the U.S. was flooding the market, so much that it created an unprecedented oil supply overhang that eventually saw prices plunge from over $100/barrel in mid-2014 to under $30/barrel by January 2016, ushering in the worst oil crash in a generation.

However, since that time reality has set it. Saudi Arabia convinced non-OPEC producers, including Russia, to join it in wresting back control of global oil markets via the so-called OPEC+ group of producers, and it’s worked. The loose collection of oil producers, just this year have driven oil prices northward nearly 40 percent after their deal to remove 1.2 million barrels per day (bod) of oil from global markets.

A reminder that middle east oil still rules the day came on Sunday when Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah said that Kuwait was looking at Iranian threats to block the Strait of Hormuz with concern. KUNA said that Jarallah was commenting on tensions in the region after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards top naval commander made a threat to close the strategic oil transport waterway in response to increased U.S. sanctions. “We are looking at these threats with concern and hoping as always to distance our region from this tension,” KUNA quoted al-Jarallah as saying. The threat came a day after President Trump announced he would not renew 180-day waivers for Iran’s largest oil importers. Related: What’s Behind The Gasoline Price Spike?

By Wednesday, Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif joined the fray, stating “We believe Iran will continue to sell its oil … (and) use the Strait of Hormuz. But if the United States takes the crazy measure of trying to prevent us from doing that, then it should be prepared for the consequences.” It is in our vital national security interest to keep the Persian Gulf open, to keep the Strait of Hormuz open. We have done that in the past and we will continue to do that in the future.”

And on Sunday, in a remark that prompted a response from Kuwait, Iran’s top general Mohammad Bagheri also warned Tehran could close the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping route if it faces more “hostility.”

“We are not after closing the Strait of Hormuz but if the hostility of enemies increases, we will be able to do so,” the armed forces' chief of staff told semi-official ISNA. “Also if our oil does not go through the strait, other countries’ oil will certainly not cross the strait, too,” he added.

Though Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz countless times over the years, it nonetheless points to the geopolitical complexity of the region where most OPEC members are, including top global oil exporter Saudi Arabia. Around a third of the world’s sea-borne crude oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz every day, making it a strategic artery linking the Middle East crude producers to key markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and beyond.

Trump’s incessant tweets

Of course, global oil markets have a somewhat new factor to contend with - this time coming from a world away via social media - President Trump’s oft ill-timed and often perplexing Tweets over a host of issues, including pressure for OPEC to increase oil production to offset upward pressure on prices. Related: Shocking Evidence Suggests Much Faster Global Warming

Going forward

Oil prices kicked off the start of the week trending downward after Trump pressured OPEC on Friday to rising output. Prices at the end of the week also headed south amid Trump’s comments that he had called Saudi Arabia and demanded that they increase production. Prices dropped by nearly 3 percent on Friday as traders weighed uncertainty tied to Trump’s plea to OPEC to lower prices. "Spoke to Saudi Arabia and others about increasing oil flow. All are in agreement,” the president said in a Tweet.

Besides Trump’s unorthodox methods to communicative both at home and with allies and foes alike, the takeaway is that though the U.S. is now the world’s  largest oil producer, recently pumping a record  12.1 million bpd, a U.S. president still has to resort to tactics to try to persuade middle eastern oil producer to help control prices. Though the medium has changed, it’s a dilemma that has faced every U.S. president from Richard Nixon to Trump - and will likely do so in the foreseeable future.

By Tim Daiss for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play