. Energy News .

Japan 'very concerned' over Iran tension
by Staff Writers
Abu Dhabi (AFP) Jan 10, 2012

US data, Iran fears send oil higher in Asia
Singapore (AFP) Jan 10, 2012 - Oil prices rose in Asian trade Tuesday with buoyant US consumer spending data and heightened worries over Iran's nuclear programme providing support, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in February, was up 61 cents to $101.92 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for February gained 34 cents to $112.79 a barrel.

"US consumer economic data saw its biggest jump in a decade, signalling increased confidence in its economic recovery," said Nick Trevethan, senior commodities strategist at ANZ Research.

Data out of Washington on Monday showed a 9.9 percent surge in consumer credit in November, the biggest increase since 2001.

Credit card spending was up 8.5 percent, while non-revolving loans, including university and automobile loans, jumped 107 percent.

The data added to the growing sense that a recovery in the world's biggest economy and oil consumer is showing signs of strength, coming days after a fall in the unemployment rate and a bigger-than-forecast rise in job creation.

Adding to the upward pressure on oil was lingering concern about Iran's nuclear programme, Trevethan told AFP.

The UN atomic agency Monday revealed that Tehran had started to enrich uranium in a mountain bunker, further stoking suspicions that it wants to build nuclear weapons.

Iran -- the world's fourth-largest oil producer -- has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz if the European Union goes ahead with plans to slap a ban on imports of its oil as part of sanctions to stop its nuclear programme.

"Irans external relations can affect oil markets through more than just the blockage of trade," Barclays Capital said in a commentary.

"In our view, the situation is now severe enough to run the danger of creating a clash almost accidentally."

Meanwhile traders are also monitoring the situation in Nigeria, where the end of fuel subsidies has sparked widespread protests, analysts said, although officials said oil output in the country had so far been unaffected.

Nigeria produces around 2.4 million barrels a day and is Africa's top producer.

Japan's foreign minister, on a Gulf tour to seek assurances over oil supplies, said Tuesday that Tokyo was "very concerned" by escalating tensions with Iran and called for a diplomatic solution.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), meanwhile, gave assurances it would make up for a shortfall in oil supplies to Japan.

"Japan is very concerned about the latest developments," Koichiro Gemba said of the West's standoff with Tehran, which has threatened to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz if oil sanctions are imposed over its nuclear programme.

"We believe that we should solve the problem diplomatically and peacefully. That is why dialogue with Iran should continue," the Japanese foreign minister told reporters in Abu Dhabi through an Arabic-language interpreter.

"Iran should not incite troubles, and nothing should affect security in the Strait of Hormuz," he said.

His UAE counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, said closing the Strait of Hormuz was not in any one's interest, including Iran, but pointed to later statements from Tehran denying plans to bloc the waterway.

"It is not in the interest of any side, be it member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Iran, the international community and energy prices, to talk about closing international passages, especially Hormuz," he said.

"We heard different statements from Iran. We heard threats and then we heard denials. I hope that this tone (the denials) will prevail in the region," he added.

Gemba said he asked the UAE for assurances to increase oil supplies to meet Japan's needs, as fears rise of sanctions on Tehran.

"We have asked for an increase in oil supplies that Japan needs," he told reporters when asked if he sought assurances from the UAE to help cover shortages resulting from a possible embargo on Iranian exports.

Thirty percent of Japan's oil supplies come from Saudi Arabia, with another 20 percent coming from the Emirates, 10 percent from Qatar and nine percent from Iran.

The minister has already made stops in Saudi Arabia and Qatar where he raised the same concerns.

Sheikh Abdullah said his country was willing to help meet Tokyo's needs in the event of energy shortfalls.

"As the UAE has the ability to provide more energy resources, it has taken the request positively. Japan will have the priority," he said.

Japan's needs for oil and gas have also increased after a massive earthquake and tsunami caused devastation and sparked a nuclear power crisis last March.

The vast bulk of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors are now shut down, amid public distrust of the technology and calls for increased safety.

Speaking at a Friday news conference, Japan's industry minister, Yukio Edano, said the world's third biggest economy was preparing for a potential Iranian oil embargo "by taking every possibility into consideration."

Saudi Arabia is seen as the only oil exporter capable of boosting production sufficiently to make up for a crunch in the global oil market.

The president of JX Nippon Oil & Energy, Japan's biggest petroleum refiner, expressed confidence in the ability of the world's largest oil exporter to raise output, in a recent interview.

"I think we can make do if we have months to spare," Yasushi Kimura told SankeiBiz digital news. "We have sounded out Saudi Arabia on what can be done" if the ban on Iran is implemented.

Oil exporters to up output if Iran embargoed: France
Paris (AFP) Jan 10, 2012 - If Iran is hit with an oil embargo over its nuclear policy, other major exporters will increase their production in order to steady world markets, the French foreign minister said Tuesday.

"Other countries are ready to increase production to avoid an effect on prices. We have made discreet contacts in this direction. The producers don't want to talk about it, but they are standing ready," Alain Juppe said.

Briefing a French parliamentary committee, Juppe said he did not share some lawmakers' pessimism over the prospects for an embargo on Iranian crude.

Several Western powers are pushing for stronger economic sanctions to be imposed on Iran's Islamic regime in order to force it to abandon a nuclear programme they allege is destined to produce atomic bombs.

But China and some other major energy consumers are opposed to any embargo that could cut of oil supplies from the Gulf and boost oil prices at a moment when the world economy is already teetering on the brink of recession.

Juppe admitted some European oil importers, including Italy and Greece, were also nervous about losing Iranian exports, but said: "We are trying to convince our partners that there are other sources of supply."

The French minister said he hoped to have all EU members on board for tougher sanctions before a European foreign minister's meeting on January 23.

Iran is the world's third largest oil exporter, shipping around 2.4 million barrels per day, and the regime depends on oil sales for 60 percent of its revenue, having made around $100 billion last year.

Taking this oil off the market would be a shock in itself, but Iran has also threatened to disrupt shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, which could cut supplies from Saudi Arabia and other major Gulf producers.

Related Links
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

China's Wen to visit oil-rich Mideast states
Beijing (AFP) Jan 10, 2012 - China's Premier Wen Jiabao will this week visit Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, the foreign ministry said Tuesday, amid mounting international tensions over oil-rich Iran.

Saudi Arabia is already the largest provider of oil to energy-hungry China, which is under pressure to secure the energy supplies it needs to keep its booming economy going.

Wen will hold talks with leaders of the three Arab nations and attend the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi during his six-day trip, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said in a statement.

The announcement came as US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner headed to China on a visit aimed partly at narrowing differences over sanctions on Iran, which Beijing has criticised.

Washington is aiming to squeeze Iran's crucial oil revenues by barring foreign financial institutions that do business with the Islamic Republic's central bank from US financial markets.

But China, which relies on Iran for 11 percent of its oil supplies, has repeatedly opposed what it calls "unilateral" sanctions imposed by the United States and other Western nations.

On Tuesday the state-run Global Times newspaper said Beijing should "take countermeasures" if Chinese companies faced US sanctions as a result of "legal" trade with Iran.

Wen will meet Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir al-Thani, among others, Liu said.

EU brings forwards decision on Iran sanctions
Brussels (AFP) Jan 10, 2012 - The European Union on Tuesday brought forward by a week to January 23 a foreign ministers' meeting set to decide new sanctions against Iran.

"On proposal of High Representative (EU foreign affairs chief Catherine) Ashton, the next Foreign Affairs Council will take place on 23 January," one week ahead of an EU summit on January 30 where the foreign ministers had been due to meet, the EU said in a brief text.

EU diplomats meanwhile were locked in talks Tuesday on new sanctions targeting Iran's energy sector, notably how to address the plight of economically-distressed European nations dependent on oil imports from Tehran -- Italy, Greece and Spain.

Talks are centered on when and how to progressively phase out deliveries of Iranian crude.

Iranian oil accounted for 15 percent of Spain's total oil imports, 14 percent of Greece's and 13 percent of Italy's, according to EU statistics for 2010.

The 27-nation bloc is joining the United States in ramping up sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme, which the West believes masks a drive to develop an atomic weapons capability.

The EU is collectively the second-biggest destination for Iranian oil exports after China, taking in some 450,000 barrels per day.


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

US health experts seek more study on 'fracking'
Washington (AFP) Jan 9, 2012
A group of US medical professionals called Monday for a halt to a type of drilling for natural gas called "fracking" in populated areas until more is known about its health impacts. "When it comes to hydrofracking, our guiding principle for public policy should be the same as the one used by physicians: 'First, do no harm,'" said Adam Law, of Weill Cornell Medical College, and a founding mem ... read more

China plans tax on carbon emissions

Myanmar cancels coal plant after opposition: official

Sky light sky bright - in the office

Germany taps Austrian power reserves for first time

GE Inventor Louis Nerone Builds a Better Light Bulb, Again and Again

US health experts seek more study on 'fracking'

SRNL research paves way for portable power systems

Theory explains how new material could improve electronic shelf life

Natural Power launches WindManager in the US

Denmark to push green energy in EU helm

New Research Helps Predict Bat Presence at Wind Energy Facilities

Scottish wind firm passes 1-gigawatt mark

OPEL Solar Supplies GES USA with PV Tracker Systems

Activ Solar Completes 100-Plus MW Perovo Solar PV Station

Investment in African Renewable Energy Reaches $3.6 Billion in 2011

More Utility Commitment for Solar Gardens

New material for thermonuclear fusion reactors

Iran must prove nuclear drive peaceful: UN chief

Bulgarian nuclear plant gets clean bill of health: regulator

Greenpeace files complaint against French nuclear group

Implanted biofuel cell converts bug's chemistry into electricity

BIO Applauds Congress for Supporting Commercialization of Advanced Biofuels for Military Use

OriginOil Enters Joint Venture to Develop Biorefineries for US DoD Biofuels Programs

Sapphire Energy Installs Custom-Made Software from CLC bio for Biofuel Research

Spying on Tiangong

China's space ambitions ally glory with pragmatism

Why The X-37B Is Not Spying On Tiangong

Getting ready for challenges of space

Global warming: European species lag in habitat shift

Study: 2011 was ninth-warmest in 33 years

Climate change models may underestimate extinctions

Australia endures third-wettest year on record


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement