EghtesadOnline: Unilateral measures to cut Iranian oil exports to zero will not produce the results desired by the Trump White House.
OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo made the statement Thursday after meeting with Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh on the sidelines of the 24th Iran International Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition in Tehran, Shana, the Oil Ministry's news portal reported.
"It is impossible to eliminate Iranian oil from the global market," the Nigerian diplomat said without naming the United States and its unending hostility towards Tehran.
The US says buyers of Iranian oil should totally stop imports by the start of May or face sanctions, ending six months of waivers that had allowed OPEC-member Iran’s eight top customers, most of them in Asia, to import limited volumes, Financial Tribune reported.
“We have faced trouble in OPEC over the last six decades, nonetheless, we have resolved them by unity,” he said, adding that what is happening in Iran, Venezuela or Libya has an impact on all the market and the energy sector.
Asked if it was technically possible to implement the US sanctions against Tehran, Barkindo said, "Decisions in OPEC have always needed unanimity and unilateral decisions [whether made by some OPEC members or the US] are doomed."
Barkindo asserted that marginalizing Iran in the oil market is not possible.
“OPEC tries to depoliticize oil. I have told my colleagues in OPEC that you must leave your passports home when coming to this organization.”
Amid mounting pressure from Washington to bring “Iranian crude sales to zero, Tehran’s regional rivals, namely Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in a renewed bid to appease the embattled US president, have pledged to raise output to compensate potential shortages.
According Zanganeh, Iran will respond if other OPEC members threaten its interests.
Saudi Arabia has welcomed the US move to end all Iran sanction waivers and has said it is ready and able to meet international crude oil demand by replacing supplies from Tehran.
In his talks with Barkindo, Zanganeh warned that OPEC is likely to collapse due to unilateral actions by some members, [in an obvious reference to Saudi Arabia].
“Iran is a member of OPEC because of its interests, and if other members try to endanger such interests, we will figure out proper policies,” Zanganeh said without elaboration.
The next OPEC meeting will be held in June at the organization's headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
Asia's crude oil imports from Iran rose to the highest in eight months in March as buyers rushed for more cargoes to take advantage of waivers to the sanctions the United States imposed, data from government and trade sources showed.
Asia's top oil importers China, India, Japan and South Korea imported a total 1.57 million barrels per day of crude from Iran in March, up 36% from the previous month to the highest since July, the data showed, Reuters reported.
The total import volume for first quarter is 31% lower than the same period a year ago, according to the data.
Iranian oil exports will reach Japan, South Korea, India and China in April but only China has Iranian oil arriving in early May, data on Refinitiv Eikon showed.