Iran's Light Crude Competitive in International Markets

Iran's Light Crude Competitive in International MarketsIran's Light Crude Competitive in International Markets

Iran's light crude is one of the oil blends with a huge demand, despite facing an undersupply in a fiercely competitive market grappling with a persistent glut that has pushed prices down.

"Iran's high quality light crude compared to that of other competitors is definitely a driving factor toward recapturing Iran's lost market share even in such a chaotic situation," Mohsen Qamsari, director of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, told ILNA.

American companies' declaration of insolvency is definitely rooted in low oil prices. The more American enterprises go bankrupt, the less crude is produced in the US, which would help strengthen the market.

Needless to say, billions of dollars are injected into these companies to help them not go bust, however useless.

According to Qamsari, developing strategic petroleum reserves in China cannot be a matter of concern as most states in the world normally store the amount of oil they require for 180 days as strategic reserves. Nonetheless, China seems to be behind schedule in this regard.

The official believes that if China can develop adequate reserves, international crude demand will witness a plunge.

However, this issue cannot jeopardize Iran's efforts to regain market share as nothing can beat the quality of Iran's light crude.

"In spite of the oil oversupply, the Persian Gulf state's traditional customers have always welcomed proposals to increase their import from Iran, as the Persian Gulf state has made an effort to become a reliable supplier for refiners all over the world even under the worst geopolitical circumstances," he said.

Asked about the country's oil sale strategies, Qamsari noted that compared to other light sweet crude producers, Iran enjoys a better status and if marketing plans are implemented properly, new sales records will be set in less than two years.

  Regaining Lost Grounds

Addressing a convention of newly-elected lawmakers during the 10th Majlis inauguration ceremony, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran will regain its lost market share sooner or later and no OPEC member will be able to capture Iran's share in the international market anymore.

Regretting that Iran lost $180 million per day between 2012 and 2015 due to western sanctions imposed on Iran, Rouhani said, "Had the revenue been generated, it would have created a lasting economic prosperity."

Pointing to current oil prices and its fluctuations in the last few years, Rouhani ruled out wild speculations that oil prices may increase as much as $100 under the current circumstances.

The two most important properties determining crude's value are density, measured as API specific gravity, and its sulfur content, measured per mass. Generally, the higher the API gravity, the "lighter" it is and the more valuable the crude.

Brent fell 22 cents to $49.37 a barrel, retreating further from the previous session's $50.51 peak, its highest since early November.

US crude settled down 0.3%, or 15 cents, at $49.33 a barrel, and last dropped 6 cents to $49.42 a barrel after touching $50.21 on Friday, its highest since early October.

With prices finally hitting $50, both Brent and US crude are likely to face technical barriers in the next three to five weeks, analysts said. Producers and speculators have also been loading up on options contracts of US crude to protect themselves from downside risk.

"Most of these outages are unlikely to last," UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo said, anticipating resumption of supply from those sources as well as higher production from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

In the coming week, investors will watch the outcome of an OPEC meeting on June 2 for signs of more output from Saudi Arabia and Iran.