Home | Comment & Analysis    Monday 9 July 2018

A Looming Oil Shock?


By: Alsir Sidahmed

A state of uncertainty and ambiguity is all over the world. Thanks to the bullying policies of US President Donald Trump, who, in effect, is shaking the foundation of the World Order that has been established seven decades ago. Two issues came to the forefront: the trade war he launched with foes and allies alike from Canada to China to the European Union and threaten to move into an overall world trade war that may lead to an economic recession that is going to hurt everyone. And the other issue is to curtail Iran in an effort that either leads to regime change or a change in its behaviour.

One of the important cards Trump is going to play is to sanction Iranian oil industry and pressure others not to buy Iran crude as of come November. With exports amounting to 2.8 million barrels per day (bpd), Iran comes third as exporter within OPEC, but more important Trump’s moves to remove the Iranian oil from the market comes at a time there is great possibility that the market is moving into a tight situation given the growing demand because of economic growth coupled with inability of a number of producing countries to pump at capacity for variety of reasons.

In addition to Iran, other countries like Venezuela, Libya, Angola and Nigeria fail to produce the level they want to due to reasons related to security or affected by issues to do with the industry in these countries. And that is why OPEC decided in its meeting last month to opt for easing its 2017 agreement that calls for cutting production inside and outside OPEC by 1.8 million bpd though the original deal was to keep that production volume off the market till the year-end. Instead, it has been decided to pump additional one million bpd, but Trump who is facing mid-term elections and was not happy with the high gasoline prices started to press publicly OPEC and Saudi Arabia, in particular, to pump more oil to cool down prices.

Saudi Arabia announced that last month its production topped 10.48 million bpd, which is the highest level of crude that the kingdom produced. That leaves 1.5 million bpd spare capacity to be deployed whenever there is a cut in supplies for security or whatever reason, but that figure for a world demand that hovers around 100 million bpd shows clearly how precarious is the situation. Moreover, that spare capacity has not been tested before.

As a result, some analysts don’t rule out the spike in oil prices that can easily cross the psychological $100 a barrel bar unless the United States resorts to its 713 million barrels Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) and draw down some supplies to fill the gap and keep prices under control.

Regardless of whatever happens the current situation brings to mind two cases where the tight market exploded into an open oil shock. The reference is to the 1973 price spike that coincided with the Arab Israeli war, then six years the second shock that followed the Iranian Revolution. And in such conditions, the issue of energy security is highlighted.

And that brings the issue to the doors of Sudan, which has its own problems in securing enough oil supplies to run its business. The long queues before gasoline filling stations a couple of months ago points clearly to the difficult days ahead as the oil market is turning into a buyers’ one. In such a market, it is not only enough to have sufficient funds to purchase, but securing supplies at any price may come to a problem as the second oil shock during the Iranian Revolution showed.

The recent deal with South Sudan that involves rehabilitating the oil industry in that country, use Sudanese technical expertise and downstream facilities could provide some relief through the transit fees that Sudan can levy in cash or kind, but eventually guaranteeing energy security for the country requires boosting domestic production at least to the level of meeting local consumption. Despite losing some 75 per cent of its known oil reserves, but still, Sudan has enough oil that needs to be tapped. That is an achievable goal if there is a political will, a clear agenda and rational prioritizing of what needs to be done.

The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

South Sudan and the inhumanity of the death penalty 2019-02-20 12:35:43 By Kur Ayuen Kou I am deeply appalled by the continuous use of the death penalty as the best form of punishment in our fractured society. In a span of one week, South Sudan has carried out six (...)

Evidence suggests inevitable victory of the 3rd Sudanese Revolution 2019-02-20 12:24:17 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman This is Third Sudanese Revolution, which broke out in December 2018, and has been going on for the Sixty Two days without a pause is worthy of Triumphant Victory. It is as (...)

Sudan’s December Revolution is not an Arab Spring 2019-02-16 08:14:10 By Mubarak Ardol Why the Sudanese have decided to put an end to the regime which has ruled them for three decades. Why is this happing now? It is known that Mr Bashir came to power in Sudan by (...)


Latest Press Releases

Ethnic Murle politicians say enough to cattle raiding 2018-12-28 09:32:00 December 27, 2018 (JUBA) - Murle political leaders in Buma state have vowed to end the practice of cattle raiding and child abduction by individuals in the community. Jodi Jonglei, who is also (...)

CEPO: South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA): Stop politics of split and focus on R-ARCSS implementation 2018-12-26 09:53:29 26th December, 2018. South Sudan Opposition Alliance internal leadership change frication is disturbing and demoralizing public opinion. The big question CEPO is raising, will SSOA be a strong (...)

Progress observed at end of second month of R-ARCSS implementation 2018-10-22 06:44:02 Press Release 21 October 2018 South Sudanese government released 24 detainees in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) (...)


Copyright © 2003-2019 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.