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OIL AND GAS
Iran 'prepared for any measure' for oil market stability
by Daniel J. Graeber
Washington (UPI) Sep 15, 2017


China provides $10 billion credit line to Iran
Tehran (AFP) Sept 16, 2017 - A Chinese state-owned investment firm has provided a $10 billion credit line for Iranian banks, Iran's central bank president said Saturday.

The contract was signed in Beijing between China's CITIC investment group and a delegation of Iranian banks led by central bank president Valiollah Seif.

The Iran Daily said the funds would finance water, energy and transport projects.

Iran is vital to China's trade ambitions as it develops its trillion-dollar "One Belt, One Road" strategy aimed at dramatically boosting its ties to Europe and Africa.

In addition to the credit line, the Export-Import Bank of China committed to a further $10 billion in loans, while the China Development Bank signed preliminary deals with Iran for $15 billion in infrastructure and production projects, Seif announced.

The contracts reflect "a strong will for continuation of cooperation between the two countries," Seif said.

In total, China has agreed to allocate $35 billion in financing and loans for Iran's economy, state news agency IRNA quoted Seif as saying.

The credit line will use euros and yuan to help bypass US sanctions that have continued despite the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in 2015.

China was a signatory to the deal that lifted sanctions in exchange for curbs to Iran's nuclear programme.

President Xi Jinping visited Iran a week after it came into effect, vowing to boost bilateral trade to $600 billion within a decade.

Although trade was just $31 billion in 2016, it jumped more than 30 percent in the first six months of 2017.

China is already Iran's biggest oil customer and accounts for a third of its overall trade.

Since the lifting of sanctions, Beijing has opened two credit lines worth $4.2 billion to build high-speed railway lines linking Tehran with Mashhad and Isfahan, the Iran Daily reported.

The latest move follows an eight-billion-euro credit deal signed with South Korea's Exim bank last month.

European banks remain wary of penalties from Washington for working with Iran, but talks are said to be at an advanced stage for $22 billion in credit deals with banks from Austria, Denmark and Germany.

China's new $10 billion credit line will go to Iran's Refah Kargaran, San'at va Ma'dan, Parsian, Pasargad and Tose'e Saderat banks.

Speaking alongside his Venezuelan counterpart, Iran's oil minister said there was a general readiness for multilateral efforts geared toward market stability.

A measure implemented by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in January to draw down the surplus on the five-year average for global crude oil prices with coordinated production declines is credited with supporting a floor under Brent crude oil prices at $50 per barrel.

Two recent hurricanes that hit the southern United States are supporting stronger oil prices because of the subsequent demand strains brought by the impacts on the energy sector. A weaker dollar is another contributing factor to the price of oil, which for Brent, is close to a 2017 high at about $55.60 early Friday.

Iranian Energy Minister Bijan Zangeneh hosted his Venezuelan counterpart, Eulogio Del Pino, in his office Wednesday to discuss steps to stabilize the global oil markets.

"During this meeting, we discussed oil market stability and attraction of cooperation of non-OPEC producers in order to ensure further stability in the market," Zangeneh was quoted by the ministry's news website SHANA as saying. "We are prepared for any measure aimed at ensuring oil market stability."

His comments echo sentiments expressed by Saudi Arabia in the middle of August. Officials from Riyadh said in a joint statement with Iraq it was keeping its "whatever it takes" stance on the effort to trim production until the markets reach a target level that would indicate balance.

The International Energy Agency in its latest monthly market report said overall production levels from major producers was on the decline and the level of stocks for members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was only slightly above the five-year average. Depending on how fast U.S. markets recover from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the IEA said OECD stocks could hit, or drop below, the five-year average.

Iran wants to regain a market share lost to sanctions tied to its former nuclear ambitions. Venezuela, meanwhile, has struggled with violent political turmoil.

Overall, however, Zangeneh said of the agreement, "the level of compliance will increase in the future."

Iranian crude oil production has been stable for most of the year at around 3.8 million barrels per day, putting it in the No. 3 spot among OPEC producers. Despite the turmoil, Venezuelan production of 1.9 million bpd for August was down only 4 percent from the first quarter.

OIL AND GAS
August oil production from Norway lower than expected
Washington (UPI) Sep 15, 2017
Total oil production in August from Norway, one of Europe's main suppliers, was slightly lower than expected, the government said Friday. Apart from Russia, Norway is one of the leading energy suppliers to the European economy, designating nearly all of its offshore production for exports. The National Petroleum Directorate reported preliminary figures for August at 1.55 million barrels ... read more

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