The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) published its January Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), forecasting that the Brent crude oil spot price will average $65 per barrel (b) in 2020 and $68/b in 2021 and that the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) spot price will average $59/b in 2020 and $62/b in 2021.
In fact, the Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Product Distribution Company (NIOPDC)’s Markazi Department recently said that low-sulfur fuel oil needed for the country’s vessels is now fully supplied and distributed by the company.
Reuters reports that Iran is unlikely to block the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s busiest oil-shipping channel, in retaliation for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, due to fear of aggravating its Gulf allies as well as China.
Japan has decided to dispatch a warship and patrol planes to the Arabian Gulf, while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, in spite of increased tensions in the Middle East.
The US Treasury Department announced additional US sanctions against Iran, in response to the state’s missile attack against a US air base in Iraq, making now trade with Iran in almost all industry sectors off limits for US, as well as non-US persons.
Despite the fact that the US and Iran seem keen on avoiding further conflict, oil and gas shipowners are preparing to pay a price from the tension that was created after the rocket strikes in Iraq over the last week.
Reuters reports that Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA has ordered its ships to avoid the Strait of Hormuz. According to a statement, the decision was taken after consultations with Brazil’s Navy, not affect Petrobras’ fuel supply in Brazil.
After the death of the Iranian commander, Qassem Soleimani by a US drone, the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) officially published an advisory in order to warn the US ships located across the Middle East waterways of the possible Iranian maritime threats.
As tensions in the Middle East are rising, South Korean government is rethinking the option of sending naval vessels to the Strait of Hormuz by expanding the operational scope of its anti-piracy ‘Cheonghae Unit’ when the next ship is rotated to the Gulf of Aden next month.
The Royal Navy will accompany British-flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz to provide protection during high tensions in the region, according to the Defense Secretary Ben Wallace. As he stated, he has instructed HMS Montrose and HMS Defender to return to accompanying duties of Red Ensign Shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.
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