Tags: West | Oil | Plan | Iran

West Readies Oil Plan in Case of Iran Crisis

Friday, 06 Jan 2012 01:09 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Western powers this week readied a contingency plan to tap a record volume from emergency stockpiles to replace nearly all the Gulf oil that would be lost if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz, industry sources and diplomats told Reuters.

They said senior executives of the International Energy Agency (IEA), which advises 28 oil consuming countries, discussed on Thursday an existing plan to release up to 14 million barrels per day (bpd) of government-owned oil stored in the United States, Europe, Japan and other importers.

Action on this scale would be more than five times the size of the biggest release in the agency's history — made in response to Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

The maximum release, some 10 million bpd of crude and about 4 million bpd of refined products, could be sustained during the first month of any coordinated action, the plan says.

"This would form a necessary and sensible response to a closure of the strait," a European diplomat told Reuters. "It wouldn't take long to put in place if it was required ... and would be unlikely to prove controversial amongst the (IEA) membership."

A spokesman for the IEA confirmed that the agency has an existing contingency plan that outlines a maximum stock release capability of 14 million bpd for a month. "We're watching the situation carefully," he said of Iran.

Tehran announced plans on Friday for new military exercises in the world's most important oil shipping lane, through which some 16 million barrels of crude pass each day. Iranian officials have threatened to block the strait if new sanctions, aimed to discourage Iran's nuclear program, harm Tehran's oil exports. Many oil experts believe the threats are rhetoric aimed at pushing up oil prices in a bid to avert sanctions.

"The IEA is monitoring the situation very closely, and is fairly concerned about it," the diplomat said.

Also watching closely are oil giants Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq who depend on the strait to move most of their crude.

If the Gulf channel gets blocked, Saudi Arabia, the world's top exporter, can route more crude through the country's East-West pipeline system to the port of Yanbu on the Red Sea.

PIPELINES AVAILABLE

Altogether that network has effective capacity of some 4.5 million bpd and after supplying Saudi domestic refineries in Jeddah, Riyadh, Rabigh and Yanbu — there is about 3 million bpd of export capacity available, said an industry source.

The neighboring United Arab Emirates also has export flexibility. It is nearing completion of the Abu Dhabi crude oil pipeline, which will bypass the strait to ship as much as 1.5 million bpd to the Indian Ocean. Industry sources said the pipeline has been tested and the first flow of oil has already been pumped.

"It's now only a matter of switching on a button," one industry source said.

The IEA tapped emergency stocks in June to help supply refiners caught short by supply lost to Libya's civil war. It was a move that angered the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries which felt the consumer group had overstepped its bounds.

Founded in 1974 in the wake of the Arab oil embargo, the IEA has only drawn down reserves on three occasions. Apart from last summer, member countries released oil in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina damaged offshore oil facilities in the Gulf of Mexico and made available 2.5 million bpd in January 1991 after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait disrupted about 4.3 million bpd.

For now, the Paris-based agency is keeping a close eye on developments and senior management discussed Iran at the meeting on Thursday, the European diplomat said.

Western governments are targeting Iranian oil supplies and the European Union is readying a ban on the country's crude oil exports of about 500,000 bpd, while Washington has already imposed financial measures to discourage business with Tehran.

Industry sources said the IEA is unlikely to release stocks in the event of an EU embargo on Iran. While Europe will import less Iranian oil, Tehran will seek to sell larger volumes to its biggest customers in Asia.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

My Plan To Reduce the National Debt

Thursday, 10 Jan 2013 12:15 PM

Following is a letter that I sent to the New York Congressional Delegation proposing a project to reduce the national de . . .

My Letter to Prime Minister Cameron

Wednesday, 02 Jan 2013 11:25 AM

My commentary this week is the letter that I sent to Prime Minister David Cameron of Great Britain. I had hoped that by  . . .

NYT's Friedman Is Hostile to Israel

Friday, 28 Dec 2012 15:48 PM

In his December 26 New York Times editorial, Tom Friedman wrote in support of former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel and the po . . .

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved