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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Jul 1, 2013 9:24 AM Flag

    U.S. says oil market can cope with more Iran export cuts

    U.S. says oil market can cope with more Iran export cuts

    June 30, 2013|Fredrik Dahl | Reuters

    VIENNA (Reuters) - The top U.S. energy official said he believed the oil market could cope with any further reduction of Iran's oil exports from the tightening of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program.

    U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz also said on Sunday he expected a "fair amount of action" by his department in 2013 in evaluating applications by U.S. firms to export natural gas.

    Companies hoping to ship gas abroad have been frustrated by lengthy delays and rule changes as they await Department of Energy approval of their applications.

    "I'm planning to go through them as rapidly as I can," Moniz said in an interview in Vienna.

    As for Iran, U.S. lawmakers are embarking this summer on a campaign to deal a deeper blow to its diminishing oil exports, and analysts say the ultimate goal could be a near total cut-off.

    This could risk antagonizing China and India, the biggest remaining buyers of Iranian crude, and could push oil prices higher in a hit to the global economy.

    Moniz said Iranian exports were not now a "dominant player in the market", and was offset by increased production in the United States and in Iraq as well as substantial reserve capacity in some of the major OPEC producers such as Saudi Arabia.

    "So I would think that with further sanctions, the markets could be quite resilient to that," said Moniz, who took office last month. From a technical point of view, "we can certainly manage a further reduction of Iranian exports", he added.

    U.S. and European Union sanctions aimed at choking the flow of oil money into Iran and forcing Tehran to negotiate curbing its controversial nuclear program slashed its crude exports to 700,000 bpd in May, the lowest in decades, according to industry sources and tanker-tracking data.

    But crude prices are still lower than they were a year ago.

    Iran says its nuclear program is a peaceful bid to generate electricity.

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