RUSSIA, the world’s largest crude producer, is shying away from Europe – as far as crude supplies are concerned – ramping up instead supplies to China. And as the process gains pace, new alliances are springing up on the global energy chessboard while the old ones are being discarded. The small, yet, strategic shift in target markets is providing Moscow not only with an opportunity to end its reliance on weak, saturated and somewhat fragmented European markets, but is also a major source of instant, handy cash at a time of great need. And the swap ensures Beijing long-term supply security. A win-win situation on more than one count!
Russian state-controlled oil company Rosneft will supply China with 365 million tons of oil over 25 years under a $270 billion deal, Igor Sechin, its chief executive said on Friday. A day earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Rosneft planned to sign a deal to provide China with oil worth $60 billion. Russian business daily Vedomosti later said Putin was referring to an advance payment that Rosneft would receive. Continue reading
US President Barack Obama this week gave his two allies, the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu, a lesson in the politics of expediency, when Tuesday, March 20, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced exemptions for 11 nations from new US financial sanctions against countries that don’t reduce the Iranian oil purchases by June 28.
Above all, Ankara is deeply engrossed in an effort to have the new Iranian and Iraqi pipelines to Europe routed through Turkey, reducing the Strait of Hormuz’s crucial importance as a primary route for the world’s oil supplies. This pipeline would also hurt Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf oil producers, all of whom are dead set against Erdogan’s hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East.
Full article: Obama’s back-channel to Tehran bypasses allies Erdogan and Netanyahu (DEBKAfile)
“Exporting crude to British and French companies has been stopped … we will sell our oil to new customers,” spokesman Alireza Nikzad was quoted as saying by the ministry of petroleum website.
The European Union in January decided to stop importing crude from Iran from July 1 over its disputed nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at building bombs. Iran denies this.
Iran’s oil minister said on February 4 that the Islamic state would cut its oil exports to “some” European countries.
The European Commission said last week that the bloc would not be short of oil if Iran stopped crude exports, as they have enough in stock to meet their needs for around 120 days.
Full article: Iran stops oil sales to British, French companies (Reuters)
China is scouring the world for alternative oil supplies to replace a fall in its imports from Iran, as it seeks to negotiate lower prices from Tehran, and has been drawing heavily on Saudi Arabia.
Industry sources told Reuters that Beijing had bought the bulk of an increase in crude oil supplies from top oil exporter Saudi Arabia in the last few months.
The world’s second-largest oil consumer is also importing more cargoes from West Africa, Russia and Australia to replace reduced supplies from Iran.
China is the top buyer of Iranian oil, taking around 20 percent of its total exports, but since January it has cut purchases by around 285,000 barrels per day (bpd), or just over half of the total daily amount it imported in 2011.
Full article: Exclusive: China buys up Saudi, Russian oil to squeeze Iran (Reuters)