US Says Sanctions Have Cost Iran $10 Billion in Oil Revenue

Iran warns Israel of 'firm response' if it acts against oil

'Israel to Face Tough Response If Threatens Iranian Tankers'

Hook said plans for Iran import waivers would be balanced with ongoing Venezuela sanctions, as the United States worked towards maintaining a "well-supplied and stable oil market".

Iran's bid to buy ten new supertankers from South Korea stalled out after the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions, while the Greek network that previously helped Tehran buy new ships has been blacklisted.

Washington sanctioned Venezuelan oil exports in January and a massive power outage since last week halted crude exports from its primary port, essentially crippling the South American country's principal industry.

India is hopeful that the U.S. will extend the waiver from sanctions on its oil imports from Iran when the current six-month period expires in early May following Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale's talks with senior officials in Washington this week.

"We are aware that our diplomatic and economic pressure, the timing and the pace of that affects Venezuela's oil industry", Hook said.

Reutersreported on Wednesday that Iran's oil tanker fleet is aging and USA sanctions are making it hard for Tehran to maintain or replace the ships.

Iran is on a discreet mission to procure second-hand oil tankers in order to keep exporting crude oil.

Iran has resorted to floating storage again after the US sanctions have removed more than 1 million bpd of Iranian oil exports from the market since November.

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Which is bad math, because Iran is exporting 1.25 million barrels per day as of February.

"On the numbers part, we'll get an updated assessment as we get closer to the end of the 180 day period", of the first round of waivers that ends in May, the spokesperson said.

Earlier, the USA had granted significant reduction exemptions (SRE) to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey in November 2018 for a period of six months.

Washington in November provided waivers to eight economies that had reduced their purchases of Iranian oil, allowing them to continue buying it without incurring sanctions for six more months.

Still, Hook said the decision on waivers will be made by President Trump, who is closely watching oil prices.

Having its tankers flagged in Iran rather than a third country such as Panama presents further problems for Tehran, even if it can secure more vessels and approved buyers for its oil, shipping experts say. China has already openly said they'll keep buying oil with or without United States permission, and India is also seen likely to keep doing so simply out of necessity.

"Looking at the market right now it seems reasonable that Iranian exports will remain at the 800,000 to 1.1 million bpd average", said Hochstein, who talks with energy ministers from big oil consumers.

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