Rouhani: Iran does not fear new USA sanctions on energy, banking sectors

Will Iran’s oil exports fall to zero

Reuters Umit Bektas

State-run Indian refiner Hindustan Petroleum said it may resume buying Iranian oil if India secures a waiver from USA sanctions, its chairman MK Surana said on Thursday (November 1).

US sanctions on Iran's energy exports come into force on November 4 and it is still unclear how much the country's roughly 3.8 mln bpd. production will affected. India has held several rounds of conversations with the US, Iran and and other stakeholders on the issue. The companies will be allowed to import 1.25 million tons a month up to March 2019, the same as they ordered for October and November. Iran is its third-largest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia and meets about 10 percent of total needs. China's imports from Iran fell by 34 per cent in September from the year-ago period, official Chinese customs data showed.

Separately, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Wednesday that 280,000 barrels of oil had been sold on the country's energy bourse and that an additional 720,000 barrels would be offered for sale again on the exchange, according to SHANA, the news website of the Iranian Oil Ministry. The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has reportedly leased some storage capacity at Dalian.

"We can not end oil imports from Iran at a time when alternatives are costly", the source told Reuters.

US national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday the Trump administration wants sanctions on Iran's crude exports to strain Tehran, but does not want to harm countries that depend on the oil.

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Asked about reports that the United States was going to grant India waiver from the Iran sanctions, Ministry of External Affairs' official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the government has not heard anything from Washington. Currently, Iran provides its tankers as well as insurance for oil cargoes to India.

"They're gutting President Trump's maximum pressure campaign", one senior congressional staffer briefed by administration officials on Iran and SWIFT said. Production surpassed Russia's in August, becoming the world's top producer.

In the first three weeks of October, Iran's crude and condensate exports averaged around 1.90-1.95 million bpd according to Platts ship tracking data, but exports could be even higher due to the Iranian tactic to switch off tracking devices to hide some volumes and destinations of its oil exports, sources say.

In a presidential memorandum late on October 31, Trump said he determined there was sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products in the global market to cushion the impact of a cut in purchases of Iranian oil. The US sanctions have driven away Indian and global shippers and insurers from extending their services for Iranian oil imports. "Administration officials used to tell us it's OK to give Iran concessions on SWIFT because they would force oil exports down to zero", the source said.

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