Kuwait has for the first time in 25 years halted its crude oil exports to the US, according to statistics published by the US Department of Energy.
The last time that the US didn’t buy Kuwaiti oil was back in 1992, which saw Iraqi troops enter the country, bringing the local oil industry to a standstill. Meanwhile, the climax of Kuwaiti exports to the US fell on 2012-2014, with the latter helping the emirate to diversify supplies.
According to Bloomberg, Kuwait has shifted its focus from the US market to the more blooming Asian ones, which currently take up to 80 percent of the emirate’s exports. New possibilities are opening up in light of the upcoming new batch of US sanctions against countries trading with Iran, expected to take effect beginning in November. Top quality Kuwait-produced oil trades at 80 dollars per barrel across Asia.
Saudi Arabia has in many ways replaced Kuwait recently, becoming a top oil supplier for the US, with daily shipping amounting to well over a million barrels of oil in recent months. Iraq, with its over 400,000 barrels per day, is trailing just behind.
Meanwhile, concerns are mounting over a potential shortfall of crude as US sanctions restrict Iranian oil exports, and Trump and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Saturday discussed over the telephone possible steps to stimulate supplies, Al Arabiya TV reported, without providing more details. The US president earlier roasted the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC states) over high prices.
Earlier the US, having withdrawn from the landmark Iranian nuclear agreement in May, voiced its aim to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero, which, however, raised quite a few concerns with OPEC members, with many expressing strong criticism of the move and the subsequent threat of sanctions.