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Iran became again the main source of news last week.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday that Iran will no longer ignore violations in the waters of the Persian Gulf. The comment was made after the detention of an Iraqi tanker on charges of fuel smuggling. Iranian Revolutionary Guards detained a tanker and seven crew members near the Iranian island of Farsi in the northern part of the Strait of Hormuz. The minister also criticized US sanctions against him personally, saying there would be no more negotiations over the 2015 nuclear deal. “The introduction of international sanctions against the Foreign Minister means that negotiations will not take place,” Mohammad Zarif said.

In the meantime, a difficult period may come in the near future for Russian oil Urals. The main reason is the tightening of the sulfur content in fuel for ships. So far, the most of ships in the world use high-sulfur fuel oil or special diesel fuel as fuel, and the main feature of Russian export oil is high sulfur content. In this regard, oil refineries in Russia produce mainly fuel oil with a high content of this substance. However, carriers say that starting from 2020 it will not be profitable for them to use high sulfur fuel, since installing exhaust filtering systems on ships means an additional cost of millions of dollars, as well as a loss of space that could be used for payload.

In this regard, companies have begun to order new ships using liquefied natural gas or are preparing to switch ships to use low-sulfur fuel (as did Maersk, the world leader in container transportation). Due to the new rules, the demand for high sulfur fuel oil will fall, and its price could collapse by 30 percent, this will also lead to a decrease in demand for Urals oil, since it requires more advanced processing to eliminate sulfur.

The trade war between the USA and China exerts tangible pressure on the world oil market. For the second time since the beginning of the year, Chinese authorities have reduced retail prices for gasoline and diesel fuel amid a slowdown in the national economy, which is suffering from a trade war with the United States. According to People's Daily, the PRC State Development and Reform Committee announced the decision to lower the price per ton of gas by 80 yuan, and the diesel inside by 70 yuan. According to the current pricing mechanism, if international crude oil prices change by more than 50 yuan per tonne and remain at that level for 10 business days, then in the Chinese domestic market, prices for oil products such as gasoline and diesel will be adjusted respectively.

At the end of the week, information appeared that Iraq was close to concluding a deal on an export pipeline project with British oil and gas company BP and Italian Eni, and not with American ExxonMobil. Under the proposed $ 400 million agreement, BP and Eni will implement a two-seabed oil pipeline construction scheme for Iraq's southern exports through the Persian Gulf. The construction of these pipelines was to become part of a larger project worth $ 53 billion, which was to be implemented by ExxonMobil this year, but their agreements with Iraq were suspended due to security concerns.
The project, which Iraq is discussing with BP and Eni, provides for the replacement of two old pipelines on the seabed, including one inactive, through which oil is transported to the Khor al-Amaya terminal. According to the proposed deal, BP will finance the project, and Eni will deal with procurement, design and tendering.


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