Iran gears up for big return to world oil markets $1 a barrel

In a remote corner of Iran, engineers are working round the clock to return the country to the top ranks of global oil producers.

The region of Southwest Iran boasts more proven reserves of oil than Africa’s largest producer, Nigeria, and its 60 billion barrels are central to Iran’s ambitions.

Iran’s oil industry has had to get creative to survive years of isolation — the equipment is old, rusty and in some cases improvised. On one platform, the National Iranian Oil Company is using a Chinese built rig but with American technology at the core purchased before sanctions took hold.

Iran is about to start selling oil that may cost just $1 a barrel


Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh at his hotel before a meeting of OPEC oil ministers in Vienna on December 3.

Today, oil sits at $37 a barrel. Goldman Sachs recently agreed it could tumble as low as $20 a barrel, a level that would decimate the already heavily damaged economies of Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The world is awash with oil. Everyone expects it to stay that way for decades. OPEC predicts the price won’t go back above $100 until 2040.

This week, Kaletsky has a new suggestion for oil-watchers to consider: Iran may be able to produce oil for just $1 a barrel, he wrote in a recent column (emphasis ours):

ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP can no longer hope to compete with Saudi, Iranian, or Russian companies, which now have exclusive access to reserves that can be extracted with nothing more sophisticated than nineteenth-century “nodding donkeys.” Iran, for example, claims to produce oil for only $1 a barrel. Its readily accessible reserves — second only in the Middle East to Saudi Arabia’s — will be rapidly developed once international economic sanctions are lifted.

For comparison, it is widely believed that Saudi Arabia’s production cost is $10 to $20 a barrel, according to Quartz.


As China becomes the world’s largest oil importer, who will patrol the Middle East sea lanes? How will geopolitics shift? Above, a Chinese oil tanker similar to the vessels that China has been providing to Iran.

伊朗底气最足:生产一桶油只需一美元

伊朗驻OPEC代表预测2016年油价将介于每桶35-50美元,未来四年将不会超过60美元。

 Gavekal Dragonomics首席经济学家Kaletsky表示,伊朗生产一桶原油只需花1美元,尽管伊朗原油出口若要获利还有精炼和分销成本,但这意味着伊朗原油出口盈亏平衡点显著低于当前油价。为获更多收入,伊朗不太可能在原油产量上严格控制以提振价格。

Kaletsky以伊朗举例道,伊朗石油储量在中东地区位居第二,仅次于沙特。BP石油公司曾预计,伊朗的原油储备约1578亿桶,这足够中国40年的需求量。在伊朗原油获得解禁后,这些石油都可能流入到国际市场。

  分析人士认为,伊朗在过去多年里受到西方社会的制裁,现在需要出口原油来获得更多收入。只要伊朗原油能够获利,伊朗不太可能在原油产量上进行严格控制。

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