Iran, the United States and five other major powers reached an agreement to restrain the Iranian nuclear programme in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
The following are answers to frequently asked questions about any nuclear deal and what follows, from analysts, economists and academics in the Reuters Global Oil Forum and in research notes compiled by Reuters:
Q: Can you outline the timeline from here?
Richard Nephew, program director, Economic Statecraft, Sanctions and Energy Markets, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, New York:
“The P5+1 will now work on a UN resolution to endorse the deal; separately, domestic legislatures and other processes will review text, in the U.S, that includes a 60-day review period; 90 days from today the deal goes into implementation mode in which Iran does a number of nuke steps, and the P5+1 establish legal conditions for relief, but it doesn’t get activated until the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) issues a report verifying Iran did what it said it would do, which Secretary (of State John) Kerry put at about 6 months, and which I think is about right, as noted before. Meanwhile, the IAEA and Iran work on the weaponization file.”
Q: When will oil sanctions be lifted?
Scott Lucas, professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham in England, and founding editor of EA WorldView:
“U.S. sanctions are toughest to lift because of the web of both executive orders and Congressionally mandated sanctions. Don’t expect that to occur for months after the deal is signed. The United States will wait until the last possible moment for IAEA verification of Iranian compliance. Some sanctions may take up to a year to be fully removed, although it’s important to realise that not all sanctions will take that long. It is a complex political, economic, and legal web because of the build-up of sanctions over decades.”
Torbjorn Soltvedt, analyst at Verisk Maplecroft for Middle East and North Africa:
“Oil sanctions would probably take longest (to lift) and could well stay in place until the middle of 2016.
“Oil and gas companies will need time to finalise negotiations in any case, so mid-2016 is not necessarily that bad. Improved fiscal terms are expected to be announced in September.”
Q: How long before more Iranian oil gets to market?
A Reuters poll of 25 economists and oil analysts last week forecast 250,000 barrels to 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of extra Iranian crude oil could come onto the world market by the end of this year. The poll expected an extra 500,000 barrels to 750,000 bpd on the market by mid-2016.
Nephew, of Columbia:
“I think that is potentially too optimistic. I think that the oil fields may be in worse shape than we expect, that the Iranian system may be slow to get going, that they’ll have some difficulty in selling their overfilled storage, and that will make it hard to boost.”
“My sense remains that it will be in the 300k to 500k range for a good 6 to 12 months after sanctions are suspended, rising only when more investment comes in.”
Swiss energy markets analyst Olivier Jakob:
“It will take a few months before Iran can start to export at full blast.”
Edward Morse, global head of commodities research at Citi in New York:
“Sanctions have clearly impaired Iran’s ability to maintain its mostly mature oilfields, let alone develop new projects.”
Harry Tchilinguirian, chief commodities strategist at BNP Paribas:
“When sanctions are lifted, a rise in Iranian barrels on the market from sales out of storage will be temporary and spread out over two to three months. Thereafter, any additional oil will depend on Iran’s ability to increase production.”
Thomas Pugh, Capital Economics:
“Once sanctions have been lifted there could well be a surge in exports in the first few months as Iran sells its stores of oil, but ramping production up to previous levels is likely to take considerably longer.”
Carsten Fritsch, Commerzbank:
“Iran is hardly able to quickly step up its oil production once sanctions are lifted, however, because production and transportation facilities will first need to be restored after spending more than three years out of service.
“Nonetheless, Iran still has sufficient stocks which could initially be exported. Realistically speaking, the supply of Iranian oil could rise by up to 500,000 barrels per day by mid-2016, and by a further 500,000 barrels per day by the end of 2016.”
Dennis Cassidy, managing director, AlixPartners:
“The question becomes how much, how fast. We know they’ve got a ton of reserves, but the Western companies don’t really know how much investment it will require or what the framework of those deals will be”
“Expect volatility, which just creates more and more anxiety for the U.S. producers.”
Q: What will the impact be on U.S. production?
Tchilinguirian, of BNP Paribas:
“A substantial return of Iranian oil to the market still looks to be a long and winding road. But with Iran now back in the supply picture, and the rest of OPEC maintaining production, more than ever the market will look towards adjustments in U.S. oil supply as the means to rebalance the market.”