12:53 GMT +319 November 2018
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    Khaled al Otaiby, an official of the Saudi oil company Aramco watches progress at a rig at the al-Howta oil field.

    Saudi Arabia Makes Bid for Asian Crude Market Amid Iran Sanctions Fears – Report

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    Washington's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and threats to target foreign firms doing business with Tehran with sanctions has prompted some countries and companies to reduce the amount of business they do with the Islamic Republic.

    Saudi Arabia has cut prices for most grades of oil for Asian buyers, prompting at least three buyers to purchase extra Saudi crude, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.

    Buyers, according to the sources, turned to Saudi Arabia's state-run energy company Aramco for extra supplies for the month of October amid fears that US sanctions on Iranian crude exports, expected to go into effect November 4, may cause shortages during the winter season.

    Aramco cut prices for most crude grades to Asia last week, presumably in a bid to increase its market share and cushion the expected blow caused by looming US restrictions.

    After its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May, the United States threatened to cut Iran's oil exports "to zero" and demanded that other countries reduce their imports of Iranian crude accordingly.

    Although some Asian countries, including Washington's Japanese and South Korean allies, have caved in to US pressure and are preparing to halt their imports of Iranian oil, others, including India and China, have defended their agreements with the Islamic Republic and searched for ways to bypass US restrictions. Some European importers have done the same.

    Last month, the International Energy Agency, a global energy watchdog, warned that maintaining global supplies may prove "very challenging" once US sanctions step into effect in November, particularly if combined with production problems in some other country.

    On Monday, US Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry met with his Saudi counterpart, Khalid al-Falih, in Washington to discuss the state of global oil markets, the department said in a statement.

    Read More: Iran Security Chief: Tehran to Respond to Any Hostile Action Tenfold — Report

    President Trump withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May and pledged to reinstate anti-Iranian sanctions, prompting the deal's other signatories, including Russia, China and the European powers to scramble to salvage the landmark nuclear agreement. Washington will introduce its energy-related restrictions on November 4 and has threatened countries and companies doing business with the Islamic Republic with so-called secondary sanctions.

    Defiant Iranian officials have insisted that the sanctions policy of "the anti-Iranian officials in the White House" would fail and warned that Tehran would accelerate the country's nuclear program if the JCPOA collapses.

    Read More: Iran's Nuclear Chief Vows to Accelerate Atomic Program if JCPOA Collapses

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    oil market, reports, sales, energy market, Saudi Aramco, Iran, United States, Saudi Arabia
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