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Trump comments to UN reinforce market concerns about Iran sanctions

By
Nicholas Sakelaris
Analysts say that countries will need to increase oil production in order to make up for Iranian oil coming off the market as a result of U.S. sanctions scheduled to go back into effect in November. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Analysts say that countries will need to increase oil production in order to make up for Iranian oil coming off the market as a result of U.S. sanctions scheduled to go back into effect in November. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 25 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump doubled down on OPEC Tuesday in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, saying the oil cartel is ripping off the world.

Brent prices soared again Tuesday, reaching $81.22 in mid-day trading. WTI, the U.S. benchmark for crude oil, remained consistent at $72.12. Both prices have been heavily affected by concerns about the effects of Iran sanctions on the market, which go back into effect in just over a month -- with some of the volatility coming based on comments by Trump.

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"We defend many of these nations for nothing and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good," Trump said. "We want them to start lowering prices and they must contributed substantially to military protection from now on. We are not going to put up with it, these horrible prices, much longer."

Trump's tough talk comes two days after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major oil producers decided to keep oil production consistent for the time being.

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In a blistering tirade against Iran, Trump addressed the sanctions that will limit Iran's crude oil exports starting Nov. 5. The sanctions are meant to "deny the regime the funds it needs to advance its bloody agenda."

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"We are working with countries that import Iranian crude oil to cut their purchases substantially," Trump said.

The sanctions could cut Iran's oil production by 1 million to 1.3 million barrels per day, said Ben Luckock, co-head of oil trading at Trafigura.

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There's a question of compliance, whether countries will recognize the sanctions on Iranian crude oil, but Luckock said he's confident that they will.

Keisuke Sadamori, the International Energy Agency's director for energy markets and security, said the world oil market is currently balanced but these sanctions, plus declining production from Venezuela, do pose a threat.

"The market balance towards the end of this year may become challenging," Sadamori said. "If that happens, it will require other producers to increase production."

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Countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq will need to increase production to make up for Iran's absence from the world market.

"We cannot be sure how quickly and to what extent those numbers in spare capacity will actually be deployed," Sadamori said.

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