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More oil, not less, this year despite Iran ban

More oil, not less, this year despite Iran ban

Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Libya are increasing supply to make up for lost Iranian oil, which are now likely diverted to Asia. Extra oil could be up to 1 million bdp.

January 31, 2012 4:11 by

Chinese oil companies are negotiating hard with the state-run National Iranian Oil Company on term purchases and, while they want the lowest possible price, they have no intention of taking less Iranian crude, sources familiar with the Chinese term negotiations say.

India wants to take as much Iranian oil as it can because terms are “favourable”, Oil Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said on Monday, after talks between the two sides on payment terms.

Together, China and India, could take more Iranian crude, possibly much more, if it were heavily discounted.

“Totting it all up, the figures show supplies from the MENA region improving, not decreasing,” said a senior oil trader at a large U.S. bank. “We can’t see a shortage coming.”

David Wech, head of research at Vienna-based consultancy JBC Energy, said the price impact of the changing supply-demand picture had been obscured by worries over geopolitical risk:

“There is some logic that the situation might lead to … more barrels if Iran manages to supply more than expected.”

The big losers could be European refiners, already under huge pressure from poor margins and high debt.

“The Iranians might have to discount a bit, but the real victims will be European refiners who will have to pay up for alternative supplies,” said a senior trader at a large European refiner that has been a regular buyer of Iranian crude.

“The European refining sector is dying and the EU sanctions are another nail in the coffin.” (By Christopher Johnson and Peg Mackey; Editing by James Jukwey)

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