Forewarning on Sulfur Glut

Forewarning on Sulfur GlutForewarning on Sulfur Glut

Despite the fact that China is the biggest importer of Iranian sulfur "it affects prices through dumping. As more oil and gas development plans in South Pars become operational sulfur production will rise; hence, the oil ministry should take effective steps not to encounter marketing challenges for huge amounts of sulfur (in the future)," Mohammad Ali Barati, Iranian Commercial Gas Company ICGC managing director said, Tasnim news agency reported.

Sulfur production has increased from 1.5 million tons to 7 million tons in Turkmenistan, Barati said, adding, "As projects go on stream in Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE, there will be a glut of this product in the region. Unlike liquefied gas, sulfur prices do not have seasonal prices. So, its export will be irrelevant unless it is converted into other products with higher value added."

In international trade, dumping is the export of a product at a price that is lower in the foreign market than the price charged in the domestic market. As dumping usually involves substantial export volumes of the product, it often has the effect of endangering the financial viability of manufacturers or producers of the product in the importing nation.

Highlighting the fact that negotiations are underway with Turkey and India to supply them with liquefied gas, the official noted, "Due largely to the sanctions, we don't really have a great deal of room to maneuver in Asia."

On the issue of liquefied gas exports to Europe, Barati said, "We are holding indirect talks with Spain to supply them with liquefied gas. Nonetheless, our efforts have been (again) hampered by the sanctions." He did not provide details of the meetings related to the Spaniards nor did he say who the "indirect" interlocutors are.

Underlining the technical complications to crude oil export and its byproducts to Africa, the ICGC chief reiterated, "Africa is a lucrative market for us, but big ships cannot dock their cargo. Thus, we have to move goods from freighters and supertankers to smaller vessels and then dispatch them to African nations such as Mozambique and Ghana."

Iran is currently exporting liquefied gas to China, India, Pakistan, Iraq and Kenya.

Tehran is under punitive economic sanctions because of its nuclear program. Tehran and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, the US plus Germany) are presently holding complex talks to forge a final agreement on the long drawn out nuclear dispute  and put an end to the crippling western and international sanctions. Both sides have set June 30 as the deadline for the final deal.