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Indian refiners in no rush to seek alternatives to Iranian oil

10 May 2018

An official spokesman for the energy ministry said Tuesday that following the US decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran, Saudi Arabia "would work with major producers within and outside OPEC, as well as major consumers to mitigate the impact of any potential supply shortages". But in order not to lag too far behind Iran's capabilities, they would likely tie their pledge to Iran's enrichment activities.

He added that Saudi Arabia's "message to the Iran leadership is the policies of the past have got to come to end".

The sanctions could impact Iran's ability to export oil.

Riyadh, which leads a regional coalition that meddling in Yemen's civil war to fight the Houthis, accuses Iran of supplying the militia with ballistic missiles.

Saudi authorities said air defences intercepted two ballistic missiles over Riyadh on Wednesday after four loud booms were heard in the capital.

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Trump has repeatedly threatened to rip up the Iran accord, which he has described as "the worst deal ever".

This would make the United States the world's largest producer, ahead of both Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

But the US request is more complicated this time.

Abdulaziz al-Sager, head of the Jeddah-based Gulf Research Centre, said the message was significant in that it reflected Gulf concerns.

"Following the United States withdrawal from the Iran deal, I would like to confirm our commitment to oil market stability for the benefit of producers and consumers", Falih said in a tweet.

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"Months before it became clear that Mr. Trump had a decent shot at being elected, the Iranian military increased support for President Bashar al-Assad in Syria; it expanded its influence in Iraq and accelerated its support for terror groups".

It would be hard to replace Iranian oil given the "commercial terms" offered by Tehran, he said.

Some, however, support Trump's withdrawal from the deal.

US politicians will want to avoid being blamed for a further escalation in the run up to congressional elections in November.

The previous rapprochement between both Iran and the United States under the Obama administration is at serious risk.

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Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS News in March, "Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible". "The consequences could be severe", said Joost Hiltermann, Program Director, Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group.

Indian refiners in no rush to seek alternatives to Iranian oil