Iraq seeks exemption from U.S. sanctions on Iran, PM says

admin   •   December 12, 2018   •   1653

Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi | Iraqi Parliament Office/Handout via REUTERS

Iraq will send a delegation to the United States seeking an exemption from sanctions against Iran that would allow it to keep importing Iranian gas, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday (December 12).

Washington gave Iraq a 45-day waiver for imports of gas from Iran when it reimposed sanctions on Iran‘s oil sector on Nov. 5. Iraqi officials have said they need around two years to find an alternative source.

Washington is seeking to roll back Iranian influence in the Middle East, including in Iraq, where Iran holds broad sway over politics and trade.

Abdul Mahdi, who assumed office in October after six months of political uncertainty following an inconclusive election, on Tuesday met U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry in Baghdad.

Abdul Mahdi’s office said Perry was in Baghdad with a delegation of over 50 business people. — Reuters

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Energy dept. assures PHL has enough oil supply after Saudi oil attacks

Robie de Guzman   •   September 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) assured that the country has enough oil supply for the coming weeks following the attacks in two large oil production facilities in Saudi Arabia that reduced global supply.

According to DOE Oil Industry and Management Bureau director, Assistant Secretary Rodora Romero, the country’s oil supply remains sufficient to keep the economy running.

Romero also assured the government is monitoring the situation and measures have been prepared to prevent sudden local petroleum price hikes and keep the country from experiencing a possible oil crisis.

“Ang isang paghahanda is ini-ensure namin with the oil companies na compliant sila sa minimum inventory requirement. Ni-revive na rin ulit o binigyan ng instruction ni (DOE) Secretary (Alfonso) Cusi ang Philippine National Oil Company Energy Exploration na talagang maging involved sa importation ng petroleum products,” she said.

Reuters reported that Saturday’s attack on Saudi Arabia’s key oil production facilities has halved the kingdom’s oil output, creating the biggest disruption to global oil supplies in absolute terms since the overthrow of the Iranian Shah in 1979, International Energy Agency data show.

The attacks reduced global supply by 5.7 million barrels per day or equivalent to 5 percent of world crude oil production and sent oil prices soaring, Reuters reported.

Romero said the Philippines only imports 12 percent of oil from Saudi Arabia while the rest comes from the United Arab Emirates.

But should the situation worsen, the energy official said the United States government and members of the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC) have pledged to tap into their strategic petroleum reserves to keep the market well supplied.

“In the event na hindi nga maibalik ang sabi ng U.S. maglalabas siya ng supply dun sa kanyang strategic petroleum reserve tapos at the same time yung other OPEC countries rin ang sabi nila sakaling kapusin at di makabalik agad yung 5 million barrels per calendar day ng Saudi Aramco mag-iincrease din ng production ang other OPEC countries,” Romero said.

Despite assurances of enough supply, several local oil companies have warned that the effects of the crude disruption in Saudi Arabia will still be felt in the country in the form of oil price hikes.

Oil firms have estimated that local pump price hikes may jump by P3 per liter.

In case this happens, the DOE said they will meet with local oil companies to ask them to implement the price increase in a staggered basis so as not to further burden motorists. RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano; with a report from Reuters)

Iran’s Rouhani says Aramco attacks were reciprocal response by Yemen

UNTV News   •   September 17, 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

 An attack on Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil facilities was a reciprocal measure by “Yemeni people” to assaults on this country, said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday (September 16), hours after a Saudi-led coalition said the attacks were carried out with Iranian weapons.

Speaking at a news conference in Ankara, Rouhani said Yemeni people “exercised their legitimate right to defense”.

The Iran-aligned Houthi group that controls Yemen’s capital claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack, which knocked out more than half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production and damaged the world’s biggest crude processing plant.

Speaking at the same news conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was ready to help Saudi Arabia following attacks on the Saudi oil industry if needed.

These Russian weapons would protect any infrastructure facilities of Saudi Arabia, he added. (REUTERS)

Trump says Iran appears to be culprit for Saudi oil attacks

Jeck Deocampo   •   September 17, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday (September 16) said it looked like Iran was behind attacks on oil plants in Saudi Arabia at the weekend that raised fears of a fresh Middle East conflict, but added that he did not want war with anyone.

Iran has rejected U.S. charges it was to blame for the attacks which damaged the world’s biggest crude processing plant in Saudi Arabia and triggered the largest jump in crude prices in decades.

Several U.S. cabinet officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, have blamed Tehran for the strikes.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani saying the strikes were carried out by “Yemeni people” retaliating for attacks by a Saudi-led military coalition in a war with Yemen’s Houthi movement.

Asked by a reporter in the White House if Iran was behind the attacks, Trump said: “It’s certainly looking that way at this moment and we’ll let you know. As soon as we find out definitively we’ll let you know but it does look that way.”

The attacks cut 5% of world crude oil production.

Two sources briefed on state oil company Saudi Aramco’s operations told Reuters it might take months for Saudi oil production to return to normal. Earlier estimates had suggested it could take weeks.

Tension in the oil-producing Gulf region has dramatically escalated this year after Trump imposed severe U.S. sanctions on Iran aimed at halting its oil exports altogether.

The U.S. leader said he did not want to act hastily.

“We have a lot of options but I’m not looking at options right now we want to find definitively who did this. We’re dealing with Saudi Arabia. We’re dealing with the crown prince and other of your neighbors. And we’re all talking about it together. We’ll see what happens,” he said.

Trump downplayed the impact of a spike in oil prices in the wake of the attacks on Saudi oil plants, saying prices had not risen much and that the United States and other countries could offset the increase by releasing more supply.

“They haven’t risen very much and we have the strategic oil reserves, which are massive, and we can release a little bit of that, and other countries … can be a little bit more generous with the oil, and you’d bring it right down,” Trump told reporters at the White House as he met with Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa. (REUTERS)

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