The Iran Nuclear Deal was signed in 14th of July 2015. Through this deal, Iran agreed to cut down its nuclear development activities in return for its economic sanctions were lifted that had restricted its excess to Western Markets. Over the elapsed time, legislative bodies in U.S and Iran have both ratified this deal. With Iran sitting over the 4th largest reserves of oil, this news has a lot of economic significance for a country like Qatar, whose oil and gas exports account for 36% of its real GDP. This deal means that the level of competition in the market will increase and will expose Qatar to enhanced external risks. Therefore it is important to understand how the oil market will be affected after the sanctions are lifted.
Before analyzing the deal, it is important to realize a few finer points. Although an exact time frame for lifting of sanctions is not set, International Atomic Energy Agency’s Director will release his report on whether sufficient work has been done by Iran or not by 15th December 2015. The western countries would then decide to lift the sanctions. Nevertheless, Iran has on the other hand made it clear that it wants to maximize its output as soon as the sanctions are lifted and return to its previous market share. In fact the illustration provided by Bloomberg (see fig 1) shows how much Iran is desperate to go in the market, as it oil output has seen a quick upward trend. In the time when OPEC has itself crossed the 30 million barrels/ day self-imposed limit to defend its market share, this increased output from Iran will make the market even more interesting.
So, what will happen? Well in the short term period as soon as the sanctions are lifted Iran will be able to utilize its 50-60 million barrels of built up crude oil stock to enhance market supply. However, the fact that half of this stock is condensate, while the rest consist of medium, sour crude oil means that this built-up stock does not have much potential to significantly affect market. This is because condensate is not an easy sell and moreover consuming markets are well supplied with this product. As estimated by Energy Information Agency, Iran’s stockpile would increase the market supply by about 100,000 barrels/day, unless some very special discounts are offered.
However in the long run, years of economic sanctions have left Iran with low investment in its oil producing machinery resulting in low productive capacities. Moreover Iran still feeds eastern economies including China, Japan, India, Taiwan and Turkey 1.1 million barrels of oil per day and therefore has ample utilization of the existing machinery. Long term increase in supply from Iran will only come about as a result of investments and up gradation of existing equipment. However still by the end of 2016, various agencies including the likes of Goldman Sachs and Energy Information Agency predict increase in the overall supply from 500,000 barrels/day to 600,000 barrels/day.
These movements can essentially offset OPEC’s prediction of more “balance market” with demand taking over the growth by the mid of 2016. In fact this deal will keep the pressure of oil prices for a longer period of time. For countries like Qatar, this can have significant consequences. As the latest Qatar Economic Outlook refers to oil prices, “if they fall short of projections, the recovery in nominal income growth will be restrained, fiscal balances could deteriorate more sharply and external-payment deficits might arise”. However the news is not all that bad for established Oil producers, because this increase in supply glut means additional pressure on higher cost oil producers to quit the market. The low cost oil producers can then make gains in the market share.
Qatar Economic Outlook 2015-2017. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2015, from http://www.gsdp.gov.qa/portal/page/portal/gsdp_en/knowledge_center/Tab2/QEO2015_17.pdf
The Iran Nuclear Agreement and Iranian Energy Exports. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2015, from http://csis.org/publication/iran-nuclear-agreement-and-iranian-energy-exports
The Historic Deal that Will Prevent Iran from Acquiring a Nuclear Weapon. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2015, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy/iran-deal\
This is what the Iran deal means for oil. (2015, July 14). Retrieved October 31, 2015, from http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/14/iran-nuclear-deal-oil-price-sanctions.html
What the Iran Deal Means for the World Economy. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2015, from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-03/what-the-iran-deal-means-for-the-world-economy
Iran’s nuclear deal. (2015, July 24). Retrieved October 31, 2015, from http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2015/07/daily-chart-iran-graphics
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