OIL PRICE CRISIS: Trump DEMANDS Middle East reduce oil prices – We keep you safe
US President Donald Trump linked American support for Middle Eastern countries to oil prices on Thursday as he again urged OPEC to lower prices.
He wrote on Twitter: ”We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us.
“And yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember.
“The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!”
The Republican president has lashed out at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries over the past several months.
Rising US gasoline prices could create a political headache for Mr Trump before November congressional elections by offsetting Republican claims that his tax cuts and rollbacks of federal regulations have helped boost the US economy.
Mr Trump has called on Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, to raise output, saying that it should help the US lower fuel prices since Washington is aiding Riyadh in its struggle against Iran.
OPEC and its allies are unlikely to agree to an official increase in crude output when they meet in Algeria this weekend.
However, pressure is mounting on top producers to prevent a spike in oil prices ahead of new US sanctions on Iran, OPEC sources told Reuters on Thursday.
The new sanctions take effect in November, as a result of with Mr Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.
Saudi Arabia is worried that any sanctions-related spike in oil prices will trigger fresh criticism from Trump.
However, it also faces doubts over its ability to compensate for a drop in Iranian supply, the sources said.
In a visit to Moscow this month, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Saudi Arabia, the United States and Russia can between them raise global output in the next 18 months to compensate for falling oil supplies from Iran.
Iran oil crisis: OPEC says Tehran ‘VERY important’ even AFTER US sanctions
THE HEAD of the oil producer group OPEC said yesterday Iran remains a “very important member” of the cartel, as Tehran braces for a second wave of US sanctions targeting its crude exports.
The oil-rich nation, which is currently at loggerheads with Washington over its nuclear weapons programme, is currently the third-largest producer in OPEC.
“Iran is a very important member of OPEC … and we have no choice but to continue working with all parties,” Mohammad Barkindo, the chief of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said at the Gulf Intelligence Energy Forum in the emirate of Fujairah.
Tehran, he continued, is a “very important exporter of oil”.
Mr Barkindo did not, however, explain how crude producers would compensate for declining exports from Iran, with the fresh sanctions targeting the country’s oil industry due to come into force on November 4.
Mr Barkindo added that a “permanent” framework of communication between the 14 OPEC members and 11 non-OPEC oil states, including the world’s top oil exporter Russia, would be set up in December.
The Islamic republic is currently the third-largest producer in OPEC.
But output has dropped to its lowest level since July 2016 as top buyers India and China distance themselves from Tehran in fear of the sanctions.
In May, US President Donald Trump pulled America out of what he called a “defective” and “rotten” international nuclear deal with Iran and announced new sanctions against the regime.
Under the 2015 accord, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in return for a lifting of crippling economic sanctions.
Britain, France and Germany – the deal’s European signatories – jointly condemned the move and pledged to save the deal from collapse, claiming it was the only way to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
European leaders, however, have since struggled to counter the impact of the sanctions.
The Trump administration, for its part, is pushing its allies to cut imports of Iranian oil to zero.
It is also coaxing other oil producers such as Saudi Arabia and Russia to pump more oil to meet any supply shortfall, and has warned importers to stop buying oil from Iran or risk being hit with secondary sanctions themselves.
Moayyed Hosseini Sadr, an adviser to Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, said that the sanctions could not reduce the country’s oil sales to zero because of continued high demand, Iranian state TV reported on Tuesday.
“Considering the high demand and low supply in the market, America’s sanctions cannot drop Iran’s oil sales to zero… Other oil producers cannot replace Iran’s oil,” he said.
Mr Trump, a long-time critic of the Obama-era accord, has said he is open to striking a new, wider deal with Iran that would also address Tehran’s ballistic missiles programme and hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East.
But Iran has dismissed calls for such talks with the US.