OPEC considers 2019 oil production cuts in yet another U-turn

OPEC considers 2019 oil production cuts in yet another U-turn

The EIA expects output to break through 12 million bpd by mid-2019, thanks largely to a surge in shale oil production.

A group of producers around the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as well as Russian Federation decided last June to relax output curbs in place since 2017, after pressure from US President Donald Trump to reduce oil prices and make up for supply losses from Iran.

Supply concerns that drove crude to a four-year high last month have faded on speculation President Donald Trump's administration will soften the blow of its sanctions on Iran to lower pump prices at home.

On Monday, the Belgium-based worldwide financial messaging system SWIFT said that it would comply with the USA sanctions on Iran and would cut off sanctioned Iranian banks from its network.

"The US will be granting these exemptions to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey. We continue negotiations to get all of the nations to zero", said the Secretary of State.

The spokesperson cited the strategy to say it "underscores our ongoing support of Afghanistan's economic growth and development as well as our close partnership with India".

The exemption for Chabahar is linked to the port's importance for both India and Afghanistan, and likewise the importance of India and Afghanistan to US foreign policy aims.

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Rick Rossow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said: "Chabahar's role to transport key logistics to Afghanistan will continue to grow over time".

Representatives of India, Afghanistan and Iran met a little more than two weeks ago in New Delhi, despite looming US sanctions, to discuss operationalization of the port, which is seen as key to connect India and Afghanistan to Iran and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan. The port stands in contrast to China's own port project in Gwadar, Pakistan.

In October-November 2017, India successfully despatched an inaugural consignment of around 15,000 tons of wheat from the Indian port of Kandla in Gujarat to Afghanistan via Chabahar, in line with its commitment to provide 1.1 million tons of wheat to Afghanistan on a grant basis.

Iran has plans to link the port by railway to Zahedan on the Pakistani border up to Mashhad in the northeast.

Afghanistan's imports of Iranian petroleum products were also being exempted from sanctions, the spokesperson added.

India has poured $2 billion into Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led overthrow of the Taliban regime, which was also opposed by Iran. USA waivers for Iranian oil purchases are likely to be more extensive than the market expects, with the combined range seen at 1.2 million to 1.7 million barrels a day, FGE Chairman Fereidun Fesharaki said in a note. Meanwhile the Trump administration's South Asia policy all but necessitates a pass for Afghanistan.

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