Iran downplays impact of United States sanction threats

Adnoc's offshore Bu Haseer oilfield. Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Tuesday said they are prepared to address global oil market imbalances if necessary

Iran has plans to counter US President Donald Trump's threats to stop Iran's oil sales, and "the plans are working successfully", Press TV quoted Iran's Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh as saying on Sunday.

Earlier this month, however, the United States president pointed the finger elsewhere, blaming the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for high oil prices.

"Increased Saudi crude availability that is being enhanced by reduced OSPs (official selling prices) into Europe and other regions is providing a strong counter against curtailed Libyan export activities", Ritterbusch wrote. Prices to (sic) high! "If anything, they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little $'s".

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Michael Cohen, Head of Energy Commodities Research at Barclays, said the market was now "caught between two forces".

The global benchmark slipped 23 cents, or 0.3%, to US$78.01 a barrel at 2:05pm in London. US retail gasoline prices, meanwhile, were at their highest level in four years for Wednesday's national holiday. Saudi Arabia's objective, revealed at the Opec meeting in June, has been to stabilise production and prices around current levels.

The US President used his usual American foreign policy card, threatening to withdraw American support from "those countries" that are "manipulating" oil prices. "He has agreed!" Trump tweeted early on Saturday.

Iranian OPEC Governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili claimed Thursday Trump's tweets are putting upward pressure on prices.

Tehran blames rising prices on USA sanctions imposed on Iran and Venezuela, founding members of the cartel.

"With those continued drawdowns at Cushing, we were approaching a situation where you could soon start to consider us nearing a shortage", Kilduff said.

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In response, Ardebili warned, "Your tweets have driven the prices up by at least $10 per barrel".

China has indicated that it could place a tariff of 25 percent on US oil.

Energy consultancy FGE on Friday issued a stark warning of looming supply shortages due to USA sanctions against Iran, and because of disruptions elsewhere.

Ardebili said Iran is also on the "two-way street" as a member of OPEC.

Trump believes OPEC can do more by by drawing on its spare - or idle - production capacity.

A blockade of the strait, through which roughly 30 percent of all seaborne oil travels, would have "dramatic consequences for global oil supply and an impact on prices that is nearly impossible to put into figures", Commerzbank said in a note.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that Tehran might block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a major route for transporting crude in the Gulf.

Now, oil prices are slipping a bit, mainly because of concerns that a trade war will slow economies around the world.

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