In Media

Dec. 23, 2018

Year in Review: The good, the bad, and the ugly of 2018

While the US tries to use its currency as a weapon, "all of the eight countries that are importing oil from Iran - none of them are going to give any types of currency back to Iran," explains Sara Vakhshouri, founder and president of SVB Energy International. "Iran can only import humanitarian goods or necessary goods, those goods that are not subject to sanctions back to Iran, so they're kind of bartering for food and medicine." Additionally, the European Union is exploring "specific channels of trade with Iran banking and transactions with Iran, and if these channels are built for more formal or usable ways of working with Iran, this will of course weaken the dollar as a weapon", says Vakhshouri. "Also, Iranians are selling their oil in local currency to these eight countries, so if we push this more or if we want to use [the dollar] as a weapon, it'll lose its influence." But at the same time, "we cannot deny the fact that all of these things have their own consequences on Iran's economy".

Dec. 4, 2018

Asia buoys Iran as US sanctions hit

India, Japan and South Korea also received waivers from the Trump administration. Sara Vakhshouri, an expert on Iran’s oil industry and president of SVB Energy International, estimates that India will buy an average of nearly 300 million barrels a day — only a slight reduction from the pre-sanctions period — while Japan will import 130,000-150,000 barrels and South Korea 180,000 barrels. Taiwan was also granted a waiver but decided not to use it. Vakshouri told Al-Monitor that the island nation “was not a regular costumer and its imports are very insignificant.” Taiwan buys most of its oil from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Mikkal Herberg, research director for Asian Energy Security at the National Bureau of Asian Research, agreed with Vakhshouri that the small quantity of oil imported from Iran was easy for Taiwan to replace. Still, Iran’s exports will still be cut by at least a million barrels a day from pre-sanctions levels. Vakhshouri estimates that Iran’s exports will average 1.1 million-1.3 million barrels a day for the duration of sanctions. Iran’s budget for the next year beginning March 21 assumes exports of 1.5 million barrels a day.

Deutsche Welle:
Dec. 4, 2018

Riyadh between an OPEC rock and Trump's hard place

Much depends on how the Russians decide to play their hand. Most overseers expect Saudi Arabia and the GCC to decide to cut production. "But without Russia, the market impact is likely to be limited," Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International, told DW. "Russia is not very interested in losing market share and reducing its oil production, especially that the market is not convinced that the eight waivers will significantly add to Iran's exports," she went on.

S&P Global Platts:
Dec. 3, 2018

OPEC focuses on cuts deal after Qatar exit shock

Sara Vakhshouri, a Washington-based analyst who heads the consultancy SVB International, said the exit of Qatar from OPEC is symptomatic of the weakening ties between members, as Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC Russia have taken the reins of output policymaking over the past two years. "Some of the members feel their interests are not fulfilled, and they are not gaining much by remaining in OPEC," Vakhshouri said. "This could evolve OPEC's function and realities from what we are used to."

Financial Tribune:
Dec. 2, 2018

SVB Energy Int’l: Crude Exports to Average 1.2mbpd Until March

Despite waivers the US government granted to eight countries after imposing sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, the country’s crude sales will fluctuate between 1.1and 1.3 million barrels per day for the rest of the year, president of SVB Energy International in Washington, DC said. "Exports may witness a small increase of 100,000-200,000 bpd from January, mostly going to Japan and South Korea," Sara Vakhshouri, a former expert working for the National Iranian Oil Company said, Afkar News reported. The analyst who is often by news outlets such as Reuters, Bloomberg, BBC and Platts Energy TV, Iranian tankers are shipping crude to Asia and as such not much capacity is left for deliveries to the European Union states including Italy and Greece. Unlike other traders and analysts who assert the waivers could increase Iran’s oil exports, Vakhshouri is of the opinion that that would be improbable due to lack of Iranian shipping capacity. Tehran says its November oil sales were close to 1.1 million bpd, down from 1.7 million bpd in previous months. The eight countries that have been granted waivers are China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Greece, and Italy. “The only game changer would be the China-US tariff talks. Should China decide to increase its imports to the normal 550,000-650,000 bpd, Iran's oil sales could reach 1.4 million bpd,” she said. China and the US have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods. The US has hit $250 billion of Chinese goods with tariffs since July, and China has retaliated by imposing duties on $110 billion of US products. According to SVB survey, China's oil import from Iran peaked in the January-April period to 664,000 bpd and the world’s second largest economy is allowed to buy a maximum of 350,000 bpd from December till June 2019 when waivers are expected to be renewed. India will continue importing 280,000-300,000 bpd of Iranian oil, Vakhshouri said, adding that she expects Turkey too will continue buying up to a maximum of 150,000 bpd. Iranian condensate production will not be affected with most exports (about 180,000 bpd) going to South Korea, she said. Japan's share of Iran oil exports, which stood at 314,000 bpd in 2011, will decline to as low as 130,000 bpd. Italy whose export amounted to 250,000 bpd in 2016 will have to cut its purchases by half. Reportedly, Taiwan will not import Iranian crude due to banking restrictions. SVB is based in Washington DC since 2009 where it has advised numerous energy and policy leaders, international corporations, think tanks, investment banks, and law firms on the global energy market, the geopolitics of energy and investment patterns.

Oil and Gas Journal:
Nov. 29, 2018

Iran’s oil exports likely to remain 1.1-1.3 million b/d this year

Iran’s oil exports likely will remain at 1.1-1.3 million b/d for the rest of this year despite waivers the US government granted to eight countries after imposing US sanctions on Iranian oil sales, said Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International in Washington, DC. Iran has said its November oil sales were about 1.1 million b/d. SVB Energy listed the eight countries having waivers as China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Greece, and Italy. In early November, US President Donald Trump’s administration fully imposed new sanctions on Iran. In May, Trump announced a US exit from an international agreement that had lifted earlier sanctions against Iran by an alliance of countries in exchange for Iran’s cooperation on its nuclear program. The sanctions are unilateral, but US officials are asking other countries to buy less oil from Iran. Some traders and analysts have suggested the waivers could increase Iran’s oil exports, but Vakhshouri said she believes that will not happen through Dec. 31 for lack of Iranian shipping capacity. “We could expect a slight export rise of 100,000-200,000 b/d from the month of January, mostly going to Japan and South Korea,” Vakhshouri said of Iran’s exports. “The only game changer would be China-US tariff negotiations, and if China decides to increase its imports back to normal volume of 550,000-650,000 b/d.” Most Iranian tankers are delivering oil to Asia so not much extra shipping capacity is left for deliveries of Iranian crude to the European Union, she said. India most likely will continue importing 280,000-300,000 b/d of Iranian oil, Vakhshouri said, adding she expects that Turkey will continue importing 100,000-120,000 b/d up to a maximum of 150,000 b/d. Iran’s condensate production will remain as it is, with most condensate exports going to South Korea, she said.

The Wall Street Journal:
Nov. 23, 2018

U.S. Pushes Iraq to Wean Itself Off Iranian Energy

Energy independence from Iran “was in Iraq’s interest before it became a demand from any other side,” said Kadhim al-Hassani, an economic adviser to Mr. Abdul-Mahdi who led a delegation that negotiated sanctions relief with the U.S. The sanctions “accelerated our steps.” It could take over a year for Iraq to develop new ways of generating or importing natural gas, said Sara Vakhshouri, president of Washington-based consulting firm SVB Energy International. Iraq imports enough electricity from Iran to power almost 1 million homes a year and buys 28 million cubic meters of Iranian gas every day—roughly the amount that Massachusetts consumes daily.

Wall Street Journal:
Nov. 16, 2018

Saudis Move to Counter U.S. Oil Strategy

The lack of detail about the size of the waivers is “confusing for markets,” said Sara Vakhshouri, president of Washington-based consulting firm SVB Energy International.

Nov. 11, 2018

Can Iran survive US economic sanctions?

Eight countries have been given a six-month waiver to trade with Iran: China, Taiwan, India, South Korea, Greece, Italy, Japan and Turkey. That helped to keep the lid on any global oil price disruption, for now. While the US tries to use its currency as a weapon, "all of the eight countries that are importing oil from Iran - none of them are going to give any types of currency back to Iran," explains Dr Sara Vakhshouri, founder and president of SVB Energy International. "Iran can only import humanitarian goods or necessary goods, those goods that are not subject to sanctions back to Iran, so they're kind of bartering for food and medicine." Additionally, the European Union is exploring "specific channels of trade with Iran banking and transactions with Iran, and if these channels are built for more formal or usable ways of working with Iran, this will of course weaken the dollar as a weapon," says Vakhshouri. "Also, Iranians are selling their oil in local currency to these eight countries, so if we push this more or if we want to use [the dollar] as a weapon, it'll lose its influence." But at the same time, "we cannot deny the fact that all of these things have their own consequences on Iran's economy." Major oil producers such as Saudi Arabia and Russia will stand to benefit from Iran's absence in the oil production game, especially in mid-2019 because the market is expecting an over-surplus of oil. However, Iran's economy is not expected to collapse under the sanctions, contends Vakhshouri. "This is not the first round of sanctions on Iran ... so the Iranian government's psychology is built on living under the sanctions. Their priorities and policies are always shaped based on how they can be more resistant ... Iran's economy can still survive this round of sanctions, but what is really hurting its economy is the domestic corruption and lack of management. But would the sanctions cripple Iran's economy to the extent that the whole system would collapse? We don't expect that."

Gulf News:
Nov. 4, 2018

Iran sanctions waiver to be negative on oil prices

Meanwhile, Iran’s exports in November is expected to reach to close to 1 million barrels per day (bpd), according to Dr Sara Vakhshouri, president of Washington-based SVB Energy International. “Out of this, we expect about 300,000 to 500,000 bpd going to China, 280 to 300,000 to India, 70 to 150,000 bpd to Turkey and 100 to 180,000 to South Korea.”

S&P Global Platts:
Nov. 2, 2018

China may be biggest hurdle to US maximum pressure campaign on Iran: analysts

China imported 665,000 b/d of Iranian crude and condensates through the first nine months of this year, up from 602,000 b/d in 2017, according to cFlow, S&P Global Platts trade-flow software. In a note Thursday, Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International, said she expects roughly 500,000 b/d of Iranian exports to China in November, the majority imported by Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, a state-owned trading company, and the rest sold to PetroChina and independent refineries.

Oil and Gas Journal:
Nov. 2, 2018

MARKET WATCH: Crude oil benchmark prices drop before US oil sanctions on Iran

Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International in Washington, DC, estimated Iran’s oil production dropped to 3.33 million b/d from 3.51 million b/d during October. She expects that Iran’s November exports will be about 1 million b/d total to China, India, Turkey, and South Korea. “We don’t think that Russia…has a capacity to swap any oil for Iran in China,” Vakhshouri told OGJ via e-mail. “We expect to see higher oil shipments and delivery of oil than what was permitted by US administration under the waivers,” she said. China is expected to continue to be Iran’s biggest oil buyer although the oil may remain in storage, which would comply with US sanctions. “It is important to distinguish sold oil from delivered oil,” she said, adding stored oil is not reflected in the actual market supply of any given month. Separately, US President Donald Trump and his cabinet officials put a positive spin on talks with China, but some analysts doubt the two countries will overcome a trade impasse.

S&P Global Platts:
Oct. 31, 2018

Analysis: Chinese, Indian appetite for Iran's oil climbs further

"Iran, like any other major oil exporter, uses tank farms outside of its main land for storing oil in different regions," president of consultancy SVB Energy International Sara Vakhshouri said. "NIOC has moved its storage tank farm hub from the port of Rotterdam to China. This will give closer and quicker access to its customers in Asia."

Al Monitor:
Oct. 22, 2018

Khashoggi killing undercuts Trump campaign against Iran

Sara Vakhshouri, founder and president of SVB Energy International, told Al-Monitor that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has 2.64 million barrels a day of spare capacity, of which Saudi Arabia accounts for 1.94 million barrels. She said, “OPEC and Saudi Arabia have already increased their production and not all of this above-mentioned capacity is available.” Russia has also increased production and could increase further. However, “No one has an exact estimate for how long Saudi (and even Russia) can sustain their production at their maximum capacity,” she said. This creates “uncertainty” over the “volume and durability of spare capacity,” which in turn “creates panic in the market and potentially pushes the prices up.” “Use of spare capacity as a cover for Iran oil production would leave no additional capacity in the market to cover for any sudden interruption in the market,” Vakhshouri said. “This again creates panic in the market and leads to higher prices.” Vakshouri said the situation might be mitigated — but only late next year if US export capacity increases as expected by the market.

Foreign Policy:
Oct. 22, 2018

Can the U.S. Make Oil Sanctions on Iran Work?

When Iran faced oil sanctions previously, it diverted to storage some of the oil it pumped but couldn’t sell. Something similar appears to be happening this time, said Sara Vakhshouri, a former Iranian oil executive who is now the president of SVB Energy International, an energy consultancy. “Iran in September and October has been storing significant amount of liquid in its floating storages and storage tanks outside of Iran. But not all of these amounts are sold and can be counted as export,” she said.

S&P Global Platts:
Oct. 10, 2018

Iran reactivates domestic crude bourse to get around US sanctions

Sara Vakhshouri, who heads up the consultancy SVB Energy International and follows Iran closely, said she doubted that using the bourse would be very successful, as any international buyers would still likely be subject to US sanctions for dealing with Iranian entities. "This is not going to increase Iran's exports significantly, due to surveillance and monitoring technologies which could track Iran's oil exports," she said.

Wall Street Journal:
Oct. 5, 2018

OPEC’s Wildcards Could Push Oil to $100

Tehran’s crude exports fell to 1.5 million barrels a day this September, said Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International and a former official at the National Iranian Oil Co. That compares with 2.1 million barrels a day in June.

Oil and Gas Journal:
Oct. 3, 2018

MARKET WATCH: Crude oil prices drop slightly but hover near 4-year highs

Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International in Washington, DC, said Iran’s oil exports fell to a rounded 1.69 million b/d in September from 1.85 million b/d in August. Vakhshouri said Iran is offering steeper discounts on condensate than crude oil. Most of the unsold cargoes in tankers already at sea are condensate because South Korea has halted its purchases of Iranian condensate. Iran has started storing crude oil and condensate in tank farms outside of Iran, she said. Given lower exports, Iran will adjust its production by reducing oil from its southern fields. Almost all of Iran’s the production drop so far has been done in the Southern fields, Vakhshouri said, adding West Karun oil fields production will continue growing. Iran will decide how to adjust its production based on its November exports, she said. She said Iran’s oil production was 3.51 million b/d in September, down from 3.59 million b/d in August.

Oil and Gas Journal:
Oct. 3, 2018

MARKET WATCH: Crude oil prices drop slightly but hover near 4-year highs

Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International in Washington, DC, said Iran’s oil exports fell to a rounded 1.69 million b/d in September from 1.85 million b/d in August. Vakhshouri said Iran is offering steeper discounts on condensate than crude oil. Most of the unsold cargoes in tankers already at sea are condensate because South Korea has halted its purchases of Iranian condensate. Iran has started storing crude oil and condensate in tank farms outside of Iran, she said. Given lower exports, Iran will adjust its production by reducing oil from its southern fields. Almost all of Iran’s the production drop so far has been done in the Southern fields, Vakhshouri said, adding West Karun oil fields production will continue growing. Iran will decide how to adjust its production based on its November exports, she said. She said Iran’s oil production was 3.51 million b/d in September, down from 3.59 million b/d in August.

S&P Global Platts:
Oct. 2, 2018

Analysis: Iran's oil tankers opt for Houdini tricks as US sanctions loom

Recent tanker data had shown a sharp fall in exports to India, but the reappearance of the tankers suggested flows to India may not be as low as preliminary data showed. Such tanker activity may be a sign of things to come. "NITC had started a drill and not all of these ghost tankers have unsold cargoes. They are testing and practicing," the president of consultancy SVB Energy International, Sara Vakhshouri, said. "We are going to see more tankers with AIS off. There will be some ship-to-ship deliveries on the sea and Iran has already started storing oil in its leased tank farms outside of Iran," Vakhshouri said.

Iran Struggles With Unrest in Pivotal Oil Hub

“People in these areas are producing most of the wealth in Iran but they are not getting their share,” said Sara Vakhshouri, a former official in the National Iranian Oil Co., who now heads the Washington-based consultancy SVB Energy International. That leaves the oil industry “in a very vulnerable situation,” she said. Ms. Vakhshouri said she was aware of 40 “suspicious” incidents such as explosions since December 2015. The government has repeatedly denied any sabotage.

Deutsche Welle:
Sept. 21, 2018

German firms lead exodus out of Iran

Many observers expect many more big firms to leave Iran. "We expect almost all of the European and Japanese companies along with major Korean companies to leave Iran," Sara Vakhshouri, the president of SVB Energy International in Washington DC, told DW. "This will have a negative impact on Iran's economy and manufacture processes of different industries. On the other hand, Chinese and Russian companies will benefit from lack of competition in Iran but we shouldn't forget that under the nuclear sanctions, Chinese companies took over many projects but most of them remain uncompleted."

Gulf News:
Sept. 6, 2018

Iran oil exports to reduce by upto 40% once sanctions kick in

Dr Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International based in Washington DC said oil exports from Iran have already reduced by about 550,000 to 600,000 barrels per day in August when the first round of US sanctions kicked in. “The figure is likely to go up to 1.4 to 1.5 million barrels per day this month,” she added. “There is a general misunderstanding that Iran’s oil exports will start showing a significant reduction from November 4 onward, but the first round of sanctions will put severe limitation on transactions with Iran and insurance on oil tankers.” Last month, the US administration reimposed the first batch of Iran sanctions since Washington withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, with sanctions on oil sales coming into force from November. “Reductions in Iranian oil exports will have a negative impact on Iran’s economy and currency value which ultimately causes a massive inflation in the country.”
Aug. 30, 2018

Oil Rallies On Flurry Of Bullish News

The Wall Street Journal reported that Iran’s oil exports are falling much faster than most analysts had predicted. While China and the European Union have vowed to continue to help Iran export its oil, it’s an uphill climb for Tehran to prevent supply losses. Banks are backing away from involvement in the trade of Iranian oil, and shippers are having trouble finding insurance for cargoes. European refiners, despite political support for Tehran in Brussels, have already moved to sharply cut purchases of Iranian crude. The result is that Iran’s oil exports are set to plunge this month, after more modest losses in July. The WSJ says, citing data from SVB Energy International, that Iran’s oil exports could fall to 1.66 million barrels per day (mb/d) in August, a massive decline from 2.34 mb/d in July. The consultancy says that Iran’s oil exports could continue to fall precipitously over the coming months, falling as low as 0.8 mb/d in November.

S&P Global Platts:
Aug. 23, 2018

Analysis: Uncertain market outlook keeps Saudi Arabia waiting on Aramco IPO

"Saudi Arabia doesn't need the IPO as much as it needed it few years ago," said Sara Vakhshouri, who heads the consultancy SVB International and closely follows Saudi oil policy. "Oil prices are higher, and due to Iran sanctions, [Saudi] market share and ultimately their income will increase further."

S&P Global Platts:
Aug. 7, 2018

Analysis: Iran's oil export descent starts to accelerate in July

"We expect Iran oil exports from September to have a higher rate of decline," president of consultancy SVB Energy International Sara Vakhshouri said. "These sanctions will put severe limitations on transactions with Iran and insurance on oil tankers. All of which will make it hard for Iran to sell its oil."

Oil and Gas Journal:
Aug. 7, 2018

MARKET WATCH: Crude oil prices rise on US sanctions on Iran

On Nov. 4, US officials will decide whether to issue a waiver to all or specific importers of Iranian oil for 6 months. Sara Vakhshouri of SVB Energy International in Washington, DC, told OGJ she believes Iran’s oil exports will show higher decline in September as buyers of Iranian oil try to avoid antagonizing US officials. “The first round of sanctions…put severe limitation on transactions with Iran and insurance on oil tankers,” making it hard for Iran to sell its oil, Vakhshouri said. She noted that importers of Iranian oil already are reducing oil purchases from Iran to prove to the US government that they markedly reduced their Iranian crude imports by Nov. 4.

Oil and Gas Journal:
July 19, 2018

Reimposing Iran oil sanctions may be difficult for US, speakers say

Sara Vakhshouri, founder and president of SVP International who formerly worked in public and private sectors of Iran’s oil industry, agreed that an uncertain expiration date is troublesome, while lower oil prices currently could become a problem if they start to rise quickly.

June 29, 2018

Iran Is Running Out of Options on Oil

“Iran is in a really horrible position right now,” said Sara Vakhshouri, head of Washington, D.C.-based consultant SVB Energy International. “There’s not really much Iran can do to maintain its export level.” If the U.S. and China reach a trade agreement, we could expect significant Iran oil-import cuts,” Vakhshouri said.

June 29, 2018


Internationally, oil prices have spiked, as the market responds to U.S. demands to cease purchasing Iranian crude. Some experts have warned that prices could rise to more than $90 per barrel, from the current price of just over $70. Speaking to Bloomberg, Sara Vakhshouri, head of Washington, D.C.-based consultant SVB Energy International said that Iran is in “a really horrible position.” According to Vakhshouri’s analysis, “There’s not really much Iran can do to maintain its export level.” At the same time, U.S. allies aren’t on board with Trump’s planned sanctions. Their impact will also have negative repercussions for Europe and other traditional allies, many of whom are already frustrated by the announcement of new U.S. tariffs.

Platts OilGramNews:
June 27, 2018

US expects Iran oil buyers to cut imports to zero by november

Sara vakhshouri, president of SvB Energy International, suspects the State Department only announced the no-waiver strategy after securing agreements from Saudi Arabia and russia to increase production later this year to offset the blocked Iranian exports and prevent a price shock. vakhshouri said it also indicates the US/ China trade war may get resolved by November. “Otherwise, the State Department wouldn’t be confident on having China stop importing oil from Iran,” she said.

Oil and Gas Journal:
June 27, 2018

MARKET WATCH: Crude oil prices climb as US talks sanctions on Iran’s trading partners

Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International in Washington, DC, told OGJ that the Trump administration is forming a trade alliance against Iran by using the pending sanctions as a component of US trade negotiations with members of the European Union and China. She also noted oil market participants are very sensitive right now to any supply disruptions or geopolitical threats. Traders are worried about how much spare capacity exists.

Arab Weekly:
June 24, 2018

US sanctions expected to cut Iran’s growth, weaken foreign investment

Another Middle East Institute panellist said US sanctions would benefit many countries by compelling them to increase oil and gas production. “Having sanctions on Iran is not really hurting anyone. It creates market share for oil producers,” said Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International who worked for the National Iranian Oil Company from 2000-08. “Having sanctions on Iran will profit many countries and doesn’t bother the rest.”

Oil and Gas Journal:
June 4, 2018

US sanctions threaten Iran’s oil exports, production

Iran started preparing to increase production after the international agreement was announced in June 2015. Production then increased in January 2016 upon removal of the export ban. In 2017, production grew by about 45,000 b/d. Production capacity of the southern oil fields is expected to rise another 55,000 b/d by June 2019. Less developed fields also contribute to increased production. Table 4 shows most of Iran’s new oil production will come from the recently developed West Karun fields where production averaged 260,000 b/d in 2016, up from 100,000 b/d in 2015. Peak West Karun production during 2016 reached 280,000 b/d for the month of October. Production reached 345,000 b/d by December 2017 and is expected to reach 380,000 b/d by mid-2018. With no interruptions, Iran could increase production 180,000 b/d by mid-2019, of which 125,000 b/d would be from West Karun oil field and the rest from southern oil fields. If Iran’s upstream projects proceed as planned, production could reach 550,000 b/d by the late 2019 and 700,000 b/d by 2021.

Oil and Gas Journal:
May 25, 2018

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil gains $3/bbl after OPEC meeting

Sara Vakhshouri of SVB Energy International in Washington, DC, said US unilateral sanctions against Iran are scheduled to take effect Nov. 4. She had expected OPEC was to increase its production before that. “The OPEC agreement is critical for the effectiveness and implementation of US sanctions on Iran oil expects,” Vakhshouri said.

May 14, 2018

Trump’s Sanctions Will Hurt Iran, But How Much?

Sara Vakhshouri, president of the energy consulting firm SVB Energy International, believes that at least when it comes to oil sanctions—the sanctions that are likely to be the most immediately painful to the Iranian economy—European firms are already well prepared to divest themselves of any Iranian ties: Because of the experience they had under the 2012-2016 nuclear sanctions, European companies are very ready to implement the sanctions. Companies that are importing Iranian oil are already looking for alternative sources. There hasn’t been much investment in Iran [from European energy companies] except for [French oil giant] Total, and they’re ready to come out. Some other companies have signed MOUs, but they don’t aren’t legally binding. Other companies decided they didn’t want to have anything to do with Iran. As opposed to the pre-JCPOA period—during which, Vakhshouri says, “the U.S. State Department had to go to a lot of effort to get these companies to comply” with U.S oil sanctions against Iran, “this time, they already know the consequences for failing to comply.” Additionally, changes in the global oil market and the struggles foreign firms have had navigating Iran’s business environment have made Iran a less important oil supplier and a less attractive target for energy investment: Now we have significant U.S. shale oil and gas resources, for example, and there are other options for investors. The lower price of oil has changed the way investors view the market. So they are not seeing so much benefit from Iran that they would be willing to risk sanctions. Back in 2012, when the price of oil was very high, Iran could offer to discount its price and make a big difference for importers. Now the global price is low enough that incentivizing in that way doesn’t really make a big difference. The other issue is that, in the past two years, Iran hasn’t really done anything to make it more attractive to invest in its oil industry. The Iranians talked about improving regulations to make them more welcoming to foreign investors, but when the sanctions came off in 2016 they just assumed that companies were dying to invest in Iran. But many companies have not invested in Iran because of its contracting system, not just because of sanctions. Business in Iran is risky and unprofitable, so it won’t be hard for Trump to reimpose sanctions and get European firms to honor them. Vakhshouri sees two potential scenarios for the EU’s approach toward Iran and the nuclear deal moving forward. In one, when Trump’s six-month wind-down period ends, European leaders are still committed to maintaining the accord. They could offer incentives to firms to do business in Iran, but in Vakhshouri’s view “this would not amount to much, just enough to motivate Iran to preserve the JCPOA.” The second scenario, which she says is “more likely to happen,” is bleaker from both the Iranian and pro-JCPOA perspectives. In this scenario, after the next 180 days the EU is aligned with the U.S., not with regard to Iran’s nuclear program but with regard to Iran’s missile program. This is what [French President Emmanuel] Macron and Trump were discussing last month. Macron was trying to convince Trump to wait, that the U.S. and Europe could pressure Iran to make another deal around its missile program. But Trump obviously had fundamental problems with the nuclear deal and they weren’t able to work it out, so he reimposed sanctions. Immediately after Trump announced his decision, Israel started launching missiles [against Iranian targets in Syria], so it looks like they’re trying to provoke Iran to retaliate. If that happens, then the world will unite against Iran’s missile program. That would mean reimposing the nuclear sanctions or even harder sanctions.

Oil & Gas Journal:
May 14, 2018

MARKET WATCH: Brent crude for July hovers above $77/bbl

US economic sanctions are to be imposed on Iran. Meanwhile, the European Union is talking with Iran, encouraging Iran to maintain compliance with terms of the 2015 international agreement, said Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International in Washington, DC. “Refiners will usually have about 180 days to report import cuts from Iran,” she said. “This gives enough time for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to adjust its production and supply.” Vakhshouri said SVB Energy expects Iran’s oil exports could be reduced 200,000-500,000 b/d by Dec. 31. Iran’s export cuts could reach 800,000-1 million b/d by about June 2019, she forecast.

Deutsche Welle:
May 11, 2018

How will Iran's economy hold up if sanctions return?

"The sanctions could significantly reduce Iran's oil revenue, making it hard to have access to its oil revenue in cash and could push Iran to have oil for goods and services deals," Sara Vakhshouri, the head of Washington-based consultancy SVB Energy, told DW.

S&P Global Platts:
May 11, 2018

US gives Iranian crude oil buyers until November to unwind deals

200,000-500,000 b/d of Iranian production will be shut in by Q1 2019, rising to 900,000-1 million b/d by mid-2019 if no new deal is reached, said Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International.

S&P Global Platts, OILGRAM NEWS:
May 10, 2018

Oil majors weigh lost opportunities in Iran

Since the 2016 sanctions deal, “There hasn’t been any significant investment in Iran’s energy industry, especially the upstream,” Sara Vakshouri, president of consultancy SVB Energy International said. “This is for three reasons: limitations and problems with using the international banking system and dollar transactions for investments, reputation risk and risk of future sanctions.” A senior official at an Indian refiner said Iranian crude imports were unlikely to be affected because of the sanctions. “This entire thing has to be studied and more clarity needs to emerge, but I don’t see any big drop in Iranian crude supplies to India immediately,” the source said. “China and India have already received many incentives and discounts from Iran on their oil purchases, hence, they will try to reduce their production gradually and in lower quantities [than South Korea and Japan],” said Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International.

S&P Global Platts:
May 10, 2018

Analysis: US expected to take hard line on Iran oil import cuts

Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International, agreed that US enforcement will depend on oil prices, with the administration likely being comfortable pressing Iranian oil buyers to make additional reductions as long as oil prices stay around $80/b. A price spike that sends prices much above that level would set off alarms in Congress as voters feel the pinch of retail pump prices during peak summer driving season. She pointed to President Donald Trump's April 20 tweet blasting OPEC for "artificially very high" prices after Saudi Arabia's reported desire for $100/b oil. "It's very much dependent on Saudi," Vakhshouri said. "If Saudi doesn't want to cover for Iran, the prices could go higher, of course. Then maybe Treasury starts to adjust the reductions." The level of import reductions will also depend on how the Treasury Department treats condensates. If it considers them as part of a country's total reductions, then cuts will be easier for some countries, analysts said.

May 10, 2018

Iran's Dollar Shift Offers Little Comfort as U.S. Exits Deal

Trump going after Iran’s oil sales, “the type of currency Iran receives can’t save its export volumes,” said Sara Vakhshouri, head of Washington-based consultancy SVB Energy. “Receiving payments in euros only partially immunizes Iran’s oil exports from U.S. sanctions.”

Oil & Gas Journal:
May 9, 2018

MARKET WATCH: Crude oil prices drop after Trump exits agreement on Iran

Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International, said US sanctions will not be as effective as were sanctions imposed by an international alliance from 2012-16. “In 2012, EU started the oil import bank and sanctions on tanker insurance,” Vakhshouri said. “This time, EU will try to encourage Iran to maintain its compliance with JCPOA.” She noted that from the time new US sanctions are implemented, it will take up to 180 days before world oil markets experience a result on world oil supply. Refiners will have about 180 days to report lower imports from Iran, Vakhshouri said. “Based on our field studies, we estimate that Iran has the technical potential to increase its oil production capacity about 120,000-180,000 b/d by mid-2019 if there is not limitation on its exports,” which could force reduced Iranian production, she said.

Foreign Policy:
May 8, 2018

Fresh U.S. Sanctions Not Likely to Strangle Iran’s Oil Market

“If the United States puts sanctions on Iranian oil exports, it won’t be as effective as back in 2012, simply because there is not an agreement between the major powers — the U.S. and the EU — over implementing sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear program,” says Sara Vakhshouri, an expert formerly of the Iranian national oil company and now head of SVB Energy International, a consultancy.

Oil and Gas Journal:
April 25, 2018

MARKET WATCH: Oil prices volatile on uncertainty about possible Iranian sanctions

“The recent Trump-Macron meeting indicates that US officials and the European Union have found the middle ground to renegotiate the deal, which was Trump’s demand from the beginning,” said Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International in Washington. “Among all EU members, France was the first and most critique of Iran’s missile program,” she wrote in an Apr. 25 e-mail to OGJ. “Now the ball is in Iran’s hands to decide whether it wants to renegotiate the deal or not.” She suggests that “this whole renegotiation process might delay the reappointment of the sanctions by Trump and buys more time for Iran.”

Oil Price:
April 21, 2018

Is The Oil Market Ready For Sanctions On Iran?

ara Vakshouri, head of consultancy SVB Energy International, told Platts that this move could be an attempt to curb the impact of fresh sanctions by taking the dollar out of transactions, but it is unlikely to completely protect Iran from sanctions. “With regard to the oil purchases, as part of its market share policy under sanctions, Iran might agree to receive its oil payments in the local currency of the importers or to received goods and/or services in return for its oil,” Vakshouri told Platts, but noted that Iran’s economy as a whole would be affected even if Tehran is able to continue selling oil internationally. “Unilateral and multilateral restrictions and sanctions will have their own negative impacts on Iran’s economy, even if it is still able to continue oil exports”, Vakshouri noted.

S&P Platts:
April 19, 2018

Analysis: Iran faces oil sanctions challenge despite ditching dollar

Sara Vakshouri, who heads the consultancy SVB Energy International, believes the announcement could be an attempt to limit the impact of sanctions by removing the dollar from transactions. "This will not protect Iran against the sanctions completely," Vakshouri added. "With regard to the oil purchases, as part of its market share policy under sanctions, Iran might agree to receive its oil payments in the local currency of the importers or to received goods and/or services in return for its oil." "Unilateral and multilateral restrictions and sanctions will have their own negative impacts on Iran's economy, even if it is still able to continue oil exports", Vakshouri said.

Jan. 25, 2018

'PM Modi's Energy Plans will Open Avenues for Entrepreneurs and Investors'

Sara Vakhshouri, President, SVB Energy International, is very optimistic about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's energy plan and said the schemes will create investment opportunities for both Indian and international players in the energy space. The senior executive was referring to PM Modi's plan of increasing India's renewable capacity to 175 GW by 2022, which includes 100 GW from solar power, 60 GW from wind power, 10 GW from biopower and 5 GW from small hydropower. Furthermore, she also mentioned Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (PM's Power for All program) or Saubhagya scheme, which aims to provide electrical connections to over 40 million families in rural and urban areas by December 2018 and free electricity to households below the poverty line (BPL). Vakhshouri said such programs will open doors for entrepreneurs/investors in the whole grid process that are used to bring electricity from the production house to end consumers. Meanwhile, Washington-based SVB Energy International offers market research and strategic advisory services within the energy sector, especially for countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, and Mexico. Their target audiences are mostly American companies and investors.

Jan. 4, 2018

Saudi arabia’s reforms face backlash risk

“Through his reforms, MBS is trying to build the required institutions to be able to manage the key issues in the Kingdom. The Aramco IPO and campaign against the domestic corruption are all the initial steps to lay the ground for building ‘independent’ institutions,” said Sara Vakhshouri, head of consultancy SVB Energy International and a fellow at the Atlantic Council who follows Saudi policy closely.

S&P Platts:
Oct. 20, 2017

Analysis: Business as usual for Iran oil exports as market eyes US sanctions threat

The oil and shipping markets remain in limbo as the world awaits action from US Congress on sanctions targeting Iran, in the wake of President Donald Trump last week declaring Tehran noncompliant with the nuclear deal.Sara Vakhshouri, an analyst with consultancy SVB Energy International who follows the country closely, said that Iran's state-owned National Iranian Oil Company does not appear to be making any preparations for sanctions to be snapped back. In a speech last week, Trump urged US lawmakers to stay in the agreement but proposed imposing new triggers that would automatically snap US sanctions back into place based on Tehran's actions. With the EU still supporting the JCPOA, Iran is hoping for "minimal impact" from Trump's decertification, Vakhshouri said, but if Iran were to face new sanctions that are supported by international partners, it will have to become more creative in its approach to oil exports. "[Iran] could use different tactics to sell its oil, ranging from discounting its crude oil, selling oil in local currencies, [or] ultimately doing oil-for-goods or services deals, like its agreement with Russia," said Vakshouri, a fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington. Russia and Iran have a deal in place for state-owned Russian company Promsyryoimport to buy up to 100,000 b/d from NIOC partly in exchange for goods, oil equipment and services for Iran. Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said October 4 that the deal could be implemented "within a month."

Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW):
Oct. 16, 2017

US Action Could Wreck Iran’s Oil Recovery

With the US out and a schism in the Western alliance, Tehran would have to count on the EU reviving measures it took in the 1990s to protect European companies doing business with Iran from possible US retaliation. Iran is understandably keen to gain and retain the support of European oil companies. It is unable to attract any US oil partners and major projects with Chinese and other Asian counterparts have not gone well. Restored US sanctions would land European companies, especially those with US business interests, in the crossfire. As well as Total, German industrial giant Siemens and French carmaker Renault have struck deals since sanctions were removed that could be put at risk. Tehran’s best hope would be an isolated Washington and an EU willing to back European business. But there’s obviously room for ambivalence. “EU governments would do their best to convince and encourage their companies to do business with Iran,” says Sara Vakhshouri of SVB Energy International. “However, those companies that have significant business interest in the US would be hesitant to prevent any penalties from the US government side.”

Oil and Gas Journal:
Sept. 25, 2017

Global refined product markets may grow less certain, speaker warns

Global oil product markets could become as unstable as their crude oil counterparts because changing product specifications could reduce output from overseas refineries that have not been updated, a leading observer said. US refiners, which already export significant refined product volumes, potentially could send more overseas, suggested Sara Vakhshouri, a non-resident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center. “When it comes to refined products, India, Korea, and the US are the major players because their refineries are more sophisticated,” she said during a Sept. 20 presentation at the Institute of World Politics. “It’s important to emphasize US refined products, which have had more of a market impact than US crude. In the near future, more of them could be sold in China.” Vakhshouri said that changes in the International Maritime Organization’s forthcoming new bunker fuel requirement will have a major impact in countries like Iran, which have basic refineries that have not changed over several decades. US refiners are much better positioned with their capacity to make light products from heavy crudes, she indicated. She said that while depressed crude prices created strong gasoline demand, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reduced production by 1.2 million b/d in the face of a 1.4-1.5 million b/d increase in crude demand in 2017. To keep inventories below a 5-year average and prices above $40/bbl, another 400,000-700,000-b/d cut will be necessary to keep prices above $50/bbl, Vakhshouri said. “Saudi Arabia still has a huge production range that’s larger than other OPEC members and could be reduced,” she said. “We think the Saudis will want to maintain their swing producer role and their 2 million b/d of spare capacity.” Liquefied natural gas markets are less flexible because long-term commitments are required, and production capacity is higher than trading volumes, Vakhshouri said. “Most LNG that is produced in the US is sold to middle-men instead of end users,” she noted. “LNG in Asia and the Middle East is price lower than in the US because it’s based on crude oil’s price. US LNG may start with a lower gas price, but transportation costs are so high it’s not competitive in many markets.” Trends through 2022 Vakhshouri said that by 2022, global LNG export capacity will grow to 650 bcm/year from 452 bcm/year in 2016, and the US will account for 40% of the increase with a 90 bcm/year increase to 106.7 bcm/year. Australia’s production could grow 30 bcm/year to 117.8 bcm/year, while Qatar’s could climb 30 bcm/year to 104.9 bcm/year during that period. She said she expects annual demand to grow 1.6%/year to almost 4,000 bcm from 3,630 bcm in 2016, with China representing 40% of the increase. Primary demand will move from power generation to industries, she predicted. Japan’s expected to push for more flexible contracts might have a major impact on global LNG markets, Vakhshouri said. “From 2025 to 2030, US LNG could be a major source for bunkering,” she said. Asked if US gas pipelines could support more LNG exports, Vakhshouri said she thought they could, although regional prices may pose a problem. “European countries are keen on expanding their LNG supplies and diversifying their sources, but at the end of the day, their tendency is to buy gas from the least expensive supplier,” she said. “Major international companies in Europe are looking into investing in Iran, but it doesn’t involve gas because Russia still influences prices so heavily,” Vakhshouri said. “The Qatari government has not used its gas as a political weapon, proving instead that it’s a reliable supplier.”

S&P Platts:
Aug. 9, 2017

Iran's battle for Asian oil market share intensifies

Iran's crude and condensate exports fell almost 5% on the month in July and the country now faces a stiff test to maintain its market in Asia as exports to the region trend lower while it still relies on Europe to take one-third of its exports. Total estimated export volume on Aframaxes, Suezmaxes and VLCCs from Iranian ports in July fell almost 5% to 2.37 million b/d from 2.49 million b/d in June, according to data from cFlow, Platts trade flow software. "The market share competition in Asia is very tight and Iran doesn't have any active policy to compete with other major producers in this market (Saudi, Russia and US)," said Sara Vakhshouri, a Middle East expert who runs consultancy SVB Energy International. "Iran is just filling the gap in Europe caused by OPEC production. However the European market doesn't have much more room to absorb extra supplies. Another important issue is that Iran's heavy crude types have a higher chance to be sold in Asia but most of its light crude oil goes to Europe," she added.

S&P Platts:
July 21, 2017

Analysis: OPEC/non-OPEC committee has much to discuss but no consensus yet on deeper oil cuts

While many other analysts said that such a drastic move by the Saudis was unlikely, Sara Vakhshouri, who heads consultancy SVB Energy International, noted that the kingdom's production was still significantly above its production level in November 2014, when OPEC launched its pump-at-will market share strategy. That means Saudi Arabia theoretically has room to cut, should it decide to do so, said Vakhshouri, who is also a fellow at the Atlantic Council. "Saudi petroleum officials on different occasions have indicated that they are not only interested in maintaining their market share but also to control and manage the market," she said. If Saudi Arabia were to agree to a cut, the market's heavy/light imbalance could be exacerbated. The current oversupply in the oil market primarily rests in light, sweet barrels due to production growth in US shale, along with Libya and Nigeria. Saudi Arabia and most of OPEC's key Middle East members, who have shouldered the bulk of the cuts, largely produce sourer and heavier grades, and the market in those crudes has tightened substantially from the deal. Alternatively, Saudi Arabia, which has continued to pump its lighter grades, even as they have cut output in its heavier crudes, could be persuaded to change its balance of production, Vakhshouri said.

Petroleum Intelligence Weekly:
July 10, 2017

Will Total Deal Open Floodgates For Iran?

To do so, Iran’s strategy will be to continue its two-track approach of direct negotia- tions and bid rounds to award new upstream deals. “Being able to sign a 20-year upstream investment agreement with a French company at the time that [the US] administration is taking a tough stance toward Iran has a strategic importance for Iran,” says Sara Vakhshouri, president at Washington-based consultancy SVB Energy International and an Iran expert.

June 15, 2017

Qatar’s battle for LNG market share

New supplies created a significant glut in the LNG market, and according to Sara Vakhshouri, President of SVB Energy International in Washington, DC, market glut had a significant downward impact on the LNG prices and the spot LNG prices in Asia in 2016, which compared to 2014, dropped by 70% and reached slightly above $5/ mBtu. Pricing arrangements have become more flexible as well and buyers, having a choice, have begun to dictate the terms and contract length. Moreover, according to Vakhshouri, the trajectory of the LNG market in the medium term and up to the early 2020s does not show any balancing of the market, and LNG production capacity is expected to remain beyond the trade volumes. In 2016, the global LNG capacity was over 300 million tonnes, while only 268 million tonnes were traded. Vakhshouri does not expect Qatar’s LNG supply to non-Arab consumers to be interrupted, but the change of trade flow and replacement of natural gas exports to UAE could have impact on the LNG prices. The United Arab Emirates imports about 1.8 billion cubic feet/day of gas from Qatar via the Dolphin pipeline. “This is a significant volume and even though the LNG market is in no shortage, replacing such an amount with non-Qatari LNG could have impact on the LNG prices.”

June 5, 2017

Will US LNG Make a Splash in China?

"China LNG demand is growing rapidly more than was anticipated by market experts. China's LNG imports in January 2017 rose above 39% in compare to its average imports in January 2016. It is expected that Chinese LNG imports surpass South Korea and make this country the second largest LNG importer after Japan. By 2020-2021 market expects to have further LNG demand growth from China and this could offset some of the extra supply in the market, particularly from Australian and US LNG supply growth. This could also have impact on the LNG prices specially in Asia. The growing LNG demand creates a great opportunity for US LNG industry to sign and secure long-term agreement with this country. US share of LNG exports to China in March was about 7% of this country's imports and this number could increase further in the medium and long term."

May 24, 2017

Iran's Maxed-Out Crude Output Eases OPEC Push to Extend Cuts

“If Iran doesn’t succeed in attracting investment, the natural pressure drop of its mature field will be a major hurdle for sustaining production at the current level,” said Sara Vakhshouri, president of Washington, D.C.-based consultant SVB Energy International LLC.

May 22, 2017

Rouhani Win Seen Speeding Iran's Oil Push Amid Trump Threats

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is in a stronger position after his re-election to push through plans for wooing foreign investors the country needs to boost oil production, according to analysts at Cornerstone Global Associates and SVB Energy. Rouhani’s political foes have less interest in blocking the new contract now that he’s won a new term, said Sara Vakhshouri, president of Washington, D.C.-based consultant SVB Energy. Even so, international investors “are still worried about remaining U.S. sanctions and possible future sanctions that could target Iran’s missile program,” she said by email.

S&P Global Platts:
May 10, 2017

Analysis: Iran sees share of Asian crude oil market slip

"Iran is losing its market share in Asia to Saudi Arabia but on the other hand its share in European markets is increasing," said Sara Vakhshouri, a Middle East expert who runs consultancy SVB Energy International. "Unlike Saudi Arabia which tries to secure a long-term market share in Asia, Iran doesn't have a long-term market strategy and its focus is day-to-day sale of its oil. At the most it tries to secure annual term-contracts with its customers," she added. "Iran is losing its market share in Asia to Saudi Arabia but on the other hand its share in European markets is increasing," said Sara Vakhshouri, a Middle East expert who runs consultancy SVB Energy International. "Unlike Saudi Arabia which tries to secure a long-term market share in Asia, Iran doesn't have a long-term market strategy and its focus is day-to-day sale of its oil. At the most it tries to secure annual term-contracts with its customers," she added.

S&P Global Platts:
April 9, 2017

ANALYSIS: OPEC/non-OPEC cuts may be at risk by Syria military escalation

Sara Vakhshouri, a Middle East expert who runs consultancy SVB Energy International, said Iranian energy officials would be loathe to give up the gains the country has seen in its oil production. The OPEC/non-OPEC deal gave it the best possible result, she said -- an allowance to increase output slightly by 90,000 b/d, as well as the ability to share in any price gains from the collective cuts. "Iran like other OPEC producers doesn't see any economic benefits from a price collapse and low oil prices," she said. "As long as the other players are sticking to the agreement, Iran should also play accordingly."

S&P Global, Platts:
March 22, 2017

Saudi Arabia may insist on Iran oil output cuts to continue OPEC deal: sources

From Iran's viewpoint, the country is already in compliance with its quota, making it unlikely to acquiesce to any demands to cut production, said Sara Vakhshouri, president of consultancy SVB Energy International. Vakhshouri estimates that Iran may be able to raise its production capacity by the end of 2017 to a total of 3.78 million b/d, but no further due to financial constraints. Keeping the current ceiling on Iranian oil output may be all Saudi Arabia can hope for, she said. "Iran's production capacity by the end of 2017 is very close to what they agreed to produce in the first half of the year," said Vakhshouri, who is also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. "Hence, even if there are political disagreements, Iran can't technically produce much higher."

March 5, 2017

Will the US Lead the LNG Pack? 10 Energy Thought Leaders Weigh In

"At the current time the global LNG market is overwhelmed with supply and the demand growth was not significant in the past years. Also the price differentials between different markets particularly between US and Asia has been reduced significantly. However because of the US unique position in the market and flexibility of its contracts and destination, US can become the future “swing producer” in the LNG and gas market. This is very crucial for the security of the gas supplies and the LNG market. The Fukushima disaster not only surged Japan’s demand for natural gas but also it increased the price differences between Asia and other regions. One of the causes of this price spike was due to lack of flexibility in re-directing the LNG supplies. Solid long-term contracts with fixed destination created challenges for major suppliers like Qatar to change their trade flow and re-direct their supplies to Japan in the shortest time. Hence having a supplier such as the US with higher flexibility and ability to play the role of the swing producer will increase the security of the global LNG and gas supplies particularly at the time of a sudden supply interruption in the market."

Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW):
Jan. 9, 2017

Trump Impedes Iran Upstream Aims in 2017

Iran’s oil sector exceeded most expectations this year, but the real test is to come in 2017. Following the lifting of sanctions last January, Iran added almost 1 million barrels per day last year, bringing it more revenue and prestige within Opec. But the next expansion phase is trickier, and oil markets should not expect Iran to produce much more than its current 3.8 million b/d in 2017. For higher output, it will need the financial might and expertise of foreign companies, which might be harder to get after Donald Trump becomes US president this month (PIW Nov.7’16). One year ago, there was plenty of doubt that Iran would be able to meet its promises of add- ing 500,000 b/d “immediately” after sanctions were lifted Jan. 16 and then win its customers back in an oversupplied oil market. Now, there is limited room to boost production in the short term, and the big jump — to 4.6 million b/d — will have to wait until 2021. “We won’t see much of an increase in Iran’s production in 2017,” says Sara Vakhshouri, an Iran expert and president at Washington-based SVB Energy International. Some capacity expansions are expected, potentially around 50,000-90,000 b/d, she said. These additions are likely to come from fields in southwestern Iran, on the border of Iraq.

Interfax Energy:
Dec. 22, 2016

Iran signs more initial agreements with IOCs

The agreements somewhat undermine the tender process. By opting to negotiate on a one-to-one basis, Iran may not secure the best deals, suggested Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International. "Signing individual contracts [as opposed to] a public bidding round reduces the transparency and the chance of having a completion among investors and being able to choose among different investors," Vakhshouri told Interfax Natural Gas Daily. "These contracts are only [heads of agreements] – they are not the final contracts and we cannot evaluate them until the final contracts are signed," she added.

S & P Global- Platts:
Dec. 13, 2016

Tillerson to push energy security, fight sanctions as top US diplomat

Sara Vakhshouri, an expert on Iran sanctions and the Middle East, said the prospects for easing sanctions on major oil producers will increase investment opportunities in these countries, which could increase global energy security.

Market Watch:
Dec. 3, 2016

How the OPEC deal breaks down for 3 big producers

Saudi Arabia was the big winner of the November deal. The country’s two-year-old strategy of tolerating low oil prices, sparked by an unwillingness of OPEC and non-OPEC producers in 2014 to reduce production in the face of a supply glut, clearly paid off. By not reducing production then, the Saudis gained market share, filling much of the void left by Iran’s sanctions-related supply cut of 1mbd. The November deal means the Saudis must reduce output by 486,000 barrels a day, to 10.05 million barrels a day. But this number is only 123,000 barrels below its 2015 average daily production and, indeed, higher than in previous years. This means the Kingdom’s output is remaining at its sustainable production level of around 10mbd, or nearly one-third of overall OPEC output.

Foreign Policy:
Nov. 9, 2016

With the Trump Win, Will Iran’s First Post- Sanctions Energy Deal Be Its Last?

Since sanctions were relaxed, “many Western companies did ‘window shopping’ and showed interest in investing in Iran’s energy industry,” but no deals were signed until now, said Sara Vakhshouri, a veteran of the Iranian national oil company now at the Atlantic Council. Part of that was due to a global glut of oil and natural gas, which depressed interest in new projects, but it was still “discouraging” for Iran, she told FP. But the Total deal indicates some ways to sidestep the sanctions thicket. Total is financing the deal in euros in part to avoid U.S. limitations on dollar transactions, she noted. And Vakhshouri said the deal’s timing, at least from Tehran’s point of view, was an effort to send an unmistakable signal. “By signing this deal with Total before the U.S. election is finalized, Iran eagerly sent a message to international investors that the result of the U.S. election could not have a significant impact on the nuclear deal and its energy industry,” she told Foreign Policy.

Oct. 28, 2016

OPEC to open freeze talks to seven non-OPEC producers, as technical meeting continues

Representatives of OPEC's 14 countries will continue their freeze negotiations Saturday, with several non-OPEC producers slated to join the talks in Vienna, as the organization tries to widen the scope of the output deal it tentatively reached in Algiers. ... "Any contribution to the freeze agreement from OPEC or Russia will only last while the contributors are benefiting from that," said Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington. "If the prices reach a level that US shale oil production surges significantly, OPEC, Saudi Arabia and Russia will not give up their market share to their rival."...

The Cipher Brief:
Oct. 21, 2016

Corralling the Cartel: OPEC and Oil Prices

Following informal OPEC talks in Algiers, members announced that they would work out a plan to reduce collective production by approximately 200 to 700 thousand barrels per day (bpd) during their next official meeting in November. However, the actual details of who will cut and by how much remain hazy. As Founder and President of SVB Energy International, Sara Vakhshouri writes, “the main challenge after this agreement will be its implementation, the details of the agreement, and how the supply will actually be reduced."...

The Cipher Brief:
Oct. 21, 2016

EXPERT COMMENTARY The Importance of OPEC's September Agreement

The OPEC decision has both a psychological and an actual impact on the market and oil prices. At a moment, when there is a serious glut in the market, oil prices are more sensitive to any expectation of the supply and demand trend in the future. Since Iran’s nuclear deal and sanctions removal in January 2016, the prospect of Iran’s production bump has impacted expectations in the market. Iran’s production rise not only had an actual impact on market fundamentals and increased overall global supplies, it also increased the rivalry between major producers over market share. This pushed major producers like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Angola to offer further discounts to their costumers in Asian and European markets in order to maintain and increase their market shares in those regions....

Aug. 24, 2016

The Much-Speculated OPEC Freeze And What to Watch For

Sara Vakhshouri, president of consulting firm SVB Energy and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, estimated that Iran could add 100,000 to 150,000 b/d to the market between now and the end of the year. Anything further, though, "would depend on Iran's ability to find new markets and sign new term contracts," she said.

July 15, 2016

Inside the Plan to Undo the Iran Nuclear Deal

"Iran’s oil and gas sectors haven’t seen any major investment yet", said Sara Vakhshouri, an energy analyst in Washington who previously worked in Iran’s public and private energy sectors. Vakshouri lays the blame more on Iran’s shoulders than on its opponents here. Six months since sanctions were removed, Iran still hasn’t finalized its upstream investment regulations under a new petroleum contract. She blames rivalries among Iranian political groups and a lack of leadership over economic and industrial policy.

Economist (Economist Intelligence Unit):
July 1, 2016

Iran: Scenarios, opportunities, and challenges facing new investors

SVB Energy International has been quoted in Economist (Economist Intelligence Unit) report on "Iran: Scenarios, opportunities, and challenges facing new investors".

May 23, 2016

Complaints About The US Aside, Iran Seen Sticking to Nuclear Deal

"If Iran walks away from the nuclear deal, it is going to lose a lot," said Sara Vakhshouri, an independent consultant on Iranian and Middle East energy and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. "The country would face tougher sanctions and limitations than before in the low price environment." "Companies that at this time last year were impatiently waiting for the nuclear deal to enter Iran's energy industry have all lost their excitement in the process of waiting for the final contract approval," Vakhshouri said.

Energy Intelligence:
May 9, 2016

Iran Eyes Summer for Upstream Opening

Approval of the IPC now rests not with the parliament but with Iran's General Inspection Organization, an arm of the country's judiciary, which has asked for a dozen or so revisions to be considered before it is approved. Zanganeh has agreed to consider these revisions and the IPC could be ready to be launched "by June or July" if the approval process goes smoothly, says Sara Vakhshouri, president of Washington­based consultancy SVB Energy International.

Gulf News:
May 8, 2016

Saudi overhaul leaves crude oil policy intact

“I don’t expect the kingdom to cut its oil production at some point soon or by the June Opec meeting. The kingdom will not give up its market share to its rivals either Iran or Russia, or the US shale oil,” Sara Vakhshouri, President of SVB Energy International based in Washington told Gulf News by email. On the new oil minister, Sara said Saudi Arabia followed its traditional trend of appointing a technical person as the Minister of Petroleum and head of Saudi Aramco, rather than just choosing a member of the royal family to pursue this job. “Khalid Al Falih has a technical petroleum background and education and has more than three decades of experience working in the energy industry and Saudi Aramco,” she said about the new oil minister. “The replacement of the Saudi Oil minister (Al Nuaimi) was expected and was not shocking to us especially at the time that the Deputy Crown Prince is getting ready to shake up the Kingdom’s energy and economic policy,” she said on the sacking of Al Naimi.

April 1, 2016

Saudi Arabia to create huge investment fund

Despite the fall in oil prices, there should be plenty of buyers, from investment banks to other oil companies, said Sara Vakhshouri, a fellow at the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center. "Many people in the world want to have access or shares of the hugest oil company in the world," she said. Saudia Arabia could take a page from Norway, Vakhshouri said, which has used its oil riches to build one of the world's most successful sovereign wealth funds.

Oil and Gas Journal:
March 11, 2016

Japan mulls strategic moves in changing energy landscape, forum told

Iran's return to global crude markets with the lifting of Western sanctions against it has revived its rivalry with Saudi Arabia, other speakers pointed out. "Saudi Arabia does not seem inclined to give up the market share it gained while Iran was under international sanctions," said Sara Vakhshouri, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center. "But it was Russia which took Iran's traditional oil market share in China. In January, the Chinese imports of oil from Iran were less than in January 2015 when Iran was still under sanctions." Despite differences in their governments, the Iranians and Saudis are both trying to structure new oil supply deals in ways that reflect current global market realities, she said. "Now that a nuclear deal has been reached, Iran is suddenly open to all kinds of investments after so many years of seeing no one except the Chinese and Russians," Vakhshouri said. "Saudi Arabia has made significant agricultural investments in the US. It also owns the largest US refinery, the Motiva plant in Port Arthur, where it can decide to send its crude oil."

Natural Gas Europe:
Feb. 22, 2016

Iran's New Petroleum Contract: A Break With the Past

Iran has huge oil and gas reserves and is among the top countries with oil and gas reserves, but years of sanctions and war since the 1979 revolution have prevented the country from receiving the required technology and investment. It is hoping that the new upstream contract will end the isolation. In an interview with NGE, Iranian-born analyst Sara Vakhshouri, who runs Washington-based energy consultancy SVP and is also a senior energy fellow with the Global Energy Center at the Atlantic Council said that all the ups and downs Iran has faced make it an untapped market, especially in the gas field: "Iran has huge gas reserves and the production costs of oil and gas are very low, the complexity of the rocks are very simple, the rate of return and production is high, especially in the gas fields. It's really an untapped market."

Market Place:
Feb. 21, 2016

What's up with Saudi Arabia and its oil?

Mideast energy consultant Sara Vakhshouri said a price war sinks high-cost producers, like fracking companies. They drill in shale rock in America and want to go global. "The low prices really kept the shale revolution a U.S. phenomenom, rather than expanding it to countries like China," he said. And, Vakhshouri said the move to cut prices keeps the world's car drivers addicted to petroleum, rather than trying alternatives. "The low oil prices could slightly push global demand high," he said. "It of course makes it harder for renewables to progress as fast as they were doing."

Financial Post:
Feb. 18, 2016

Oil rally fueled by OPEC noise, just bulls clutching at straws'

"If there is a will between Saudi Arabia and Russia to control the market, it (the freeze) is going to happen," says Sara Vakhshouri, a Washington-based analyst who once worked for the National Iranian Oil Company. "But if they are waiting for Iran, it's not a rational decision."

Fuel Fix:
Feb. 15, 2016

Access to oil markets only a first step for Iran, UH panel says

"Iran's main challenge is finding customers and selling oil in the current market," said Sara Vakhshouri, president of energy consulting group SVB Energy International. Iranian officials have said they plan to immediately boost production by 500,000 barrels per day and add another 500,000 barrels per day over the next six months. But those barrels will need to carve out space in a global market already flush with oil, Vakhshouri said. Europe could be the prime target. "Iran lost about 600,000 barrels per day of market share in Europe when sanctions took effect," she said, adding that they may be able to claw back as much as 250,000 barrels per day of crude.

Foreign Policy,:
Jan. 22, 2016

Davos Diary: Iran Insists It's Open for Business. Will It Have Any Customers?

complexity are very attractive for investors, particularly at the current time of low oil prices," Sara Vakhshouri, formerly of the Iranian national oil company and now head of energy consultancy SVB Energy International, told Foreign Policy. The new contracts, Vakhshouri said, are "much more flexible and attractive" than the old terms, but by themselves would not likely be enough to entice Big Oil away from easier projects elsewhere. In that sense, she said, low oil prices and low production costs are "Iran's lucky charm to attract international investors." For the gas game, Vakhshouri said, Iran's "massive gas reserves and unique geographical position" could one day make it a key player for markets both West and East.

Energy Fuse:
Jan. 5, 2016

Saudi Arabia-Iran Conflict, Rising Middle East Tensions Add To Oil Market Uncertainty

"Even though this is the strongest direct tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia since the 1980s, the possibility of a military clash or any action that could interrupt the oil production and supply flow of the two countries is very less likely," Sara Vakhshouri, president of Washington-based consultancy SVB Energy International, told The Fuse. "Both countries are heavily dependent on their oil revenue, particularly at the current time of low oil prices." "Ironically, the events could actually contribute to the market's expectation of oversupply in the near future as it loses hope in cooperation between the two countries to control output," said Vakhshouri.

The Guardian:
Jan. 2, 2016

Foreign firms dash to get in on Iran 'gold rush' - but US companies left out in cold

"Despite its huge oil and gas reserves, US energy companies are treading carefully. Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International, said: "I really cannot imagine in 2016 seeing any major US energy companies going in. "Very important for these firms is security. Even if the sanctions are lifted, if you're Chevron or ExxonMobil and you're sending American personnel to Iran, you're going to be concerned until relations are normalized."

USA Today:
Dec. 16, 2015

End of oil export ban will have a small impact in the short term

Sara Vakhshouri, an energy analyst at SVB Energy International and the Atlantic Council think tank, said the end of the export ban will help stabilize global oil prices. Some of the world's major producing countries, such as Iraq, Syria and Libya have oil fields that are threatened or under control of terrorists, such as the Islamic State group. International airstrikes to counter those terrorists, who have sold oil to raise funds, have destroyed oil facilities. That takes that oil off the marketand affects prices, Vakhshouri said. "So it's really important to have supply from countries not in these areas, including the U.S.," she said.

Real Clear Energy,:
Dec. 13, 2015

LNG Exports the Most Powerful Demonstration of US Geopolitics in Decades

With the signing of the nuclear deal in July, Iran has decided to move on, and its natural gas industry expects to benefit from increased trade in oil and gas services and technology that are no longer being held up by sanctions. "They are very aware that they lost the opportunity for exporting gas as LNG," said Sara Vakhshouri, an Iranian energy analyst with SVB Energy International in Washington. "Iran's major investment for gas export is by pipeline" to neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Iraq, India, and Oman.

USA Today:
Dec. 12, 2015

U.N.: Iran conducted nuclear weapons research as recently as 2009

Iran is poised to add a half million barrels a day to the saturated world oil supply by mid-2016, once the sanctions relief goes into effect, said Sara Vakhshouri, a senior energy fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington. Positive news on Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers "could have a psychological downward impact on the global oil prices," Vakhshouri said. "This could happen even before Iran increases its export volumes."

Oil and Gas Journal:
Dec. 10, 2015

Senate panel told that effectively curbing ISIS oil revenue won't be easy

"If Iran comes out of isolation, it won't depend as much on its oil exports as before," said Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVG Energy International and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center. "The emphasis will be on processing more oil and gas domestically and turning it into higher-value products." National Iranian Oil Co. also can be expected to place a greater emphasis on developing the country's huge gas resources, Vakhshouri said. This could have a strong export impact not only as gas but also as electricity generated from gas for sales to Iraq, Pakistan, and other nearby nations, she said, adding that Iran's location also could make it a significant energy transit point.

Oil and Gas 360:
Dec. 3, 2015

New Iranian Oil and Gas Contracts Extend 20-25 Years

This new model offers an attractive option to companies looking for projects in the Middle East, Dr. Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International and Senior Energy Fellow with the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, told Oil & Gas 360. "It's difficult to attract investment anywhere right now with low oil prices, but low production costs mean Iran is still competitive," said Vakhshouri. "The IPCs are very similar to the contracts offered by Iraq's central government, but without some of the security issues associated with groups like ISIS." "NIOC hopes to increase the quality of work and protect its oil and gas reservoirs by engaging international companies for longer periods of time," said Vakhshouri. "This will give the investors a more vested stake in the field and could create political advantages for the country, as investing companies would have long-term interest in Iran." Another major concern for companies looking to invest in Iranian oil and gas fields are their options for arbitration should problems arise during the project. "Companies with bilateral agreements with Iran can go through international arbitration if problems arise," said Vakhshouri. "Otherwise, they will need to go through the Iranian court system." "[Zanganeh] is trying to leave the door open for more input from countries as Iran prepares for sanctions to be lifted," said Vakhshouri, when asked about the oil minister's comments.

USA Today:
Nov. 23, 2015

Analysis: Russia-Iran courtship has its limits

Iran, whose economy has been stifled by years of nuclear sanctions, plans to develop its oil and natural gas fields and increase output by 1 million barrels a day, or about 25%, by mid-2016, says energy analyst Sara Vakhshouri, of SVB Energy International in Washington. That will put downward pressure on prices that are already at their lowest point in decades, Vakhshouri wrote in a recent study.

Nov. 22, 2015

Dk petrol fiyatlar ran' cazip klyor

Atlantik Konseyi Kresel Enerji Merkezi'nde Kdemli Aratrmac olan Sara Vakhshouri ise ran'n petroln kresel pazarda satmak iin kendi ham petrol tanker filosunu kurmaya baladn syleyerek, "ran yaptrmlar kalkar kalkmaz ham petrol retimini gnlk 500 bin varil, bir sonraki alt ayda 500 bin varil daha artrabilir" dedi.

Sept. 10, 2015

Iran Gets Ready to Sell to the World

.... Even if Iran can increase production as quickly as Zanganeh claims, it may have to incentivize buyers by offering lower prices or by trading oil for goods or services, says Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International, an energy consulting group in Washington. That's because the Saudis have used long-term contracts to lock in customers who not long ago bought Iranian oil....

Energy Compass (Energy Intelligence):
Sept. 4, 2015

Iran Avoiding The Guards

... While Iran's Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act generally puts no limitations on the share of investment for foreign investors, enabling up to 100% ownership, the situation is different in the upstream oil and gas sector. "Foreign investors were in the past required to enter into joint ventures with an Iranian local partner. This is to maintain domestic control over sensitive upstream oil and gas projects," said Sara Vakhshouri, president of Washington-based SVB Energy International, an energy consultancy... ...Experts say the guards are connected to many, possibly hundreds, of companies in the country, making it potentially difficult and time-consuming to avoid entering into business with them, knowingly or not. "This will complicate and prolong the duration of negotiations and choosing the domestic partner for the foreign firms," Vakhshouri said...

Aug. 17, 2015

Foreign firms scramble to fix Iran's refineries once sanctions end

Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International, said scores of western oil industry officials are clamoring for this business. There would be huge competition but the right companies should be able to succeed. "If you can bring the technology needed, it shouldn't be tough," Vakhshouri said

Daily Sabah:
July 22, 2015

Iran to become competitor to Russia in energy markets

Sara Vakhshouri, president of the Washington-based SVB Energy International and a consultant at the National Iranian Oil Company, said that Iran would be an important competitor to Russia in the global oil and natural gas markets after the nuclear agreement was signed with P5+1 countries comprising the U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China and Germany. Vakhshouri told Anadolu Agency that there would be a fierce competition in the global energy markets between Iran and Russia, which have become allies recently thanks to the mutual steps taken by the two countries. Emphasizing that European energy companies have already started to negotiate with Iranian energy authorities due to the country's vast oil and natural gas reserves, Vakhshouri said: "Iran has made new investment regulations for the energy sector. Those regulations are creating a much more attractive investment climate compared to the past." Now that sanction will be lifted and new regulations are enforced, Iran can reach the technology that it needs to increase its oil and natural gas production, Vakhshouri said, adding: "Europe is trying to decrease its dependency on Russia oil and natural gas after the Ukraine crisis. Iran is a perfect alternative for Europe's energy diversity." She also stressed that Russia was not as attractive as before for energy investments because of the sanctions imposed on the country.

July 21, 2015

Dnya enerji piyasalarnda Rusya-ran rekabeti

Vakhshouri, AA muhabirine yapt aklamada, son dnemde karlkl atlan admlarla mttefik konumuna gelen Rusya ve ran arasnda zellikle kresel enerji piyasalarnda byk bir rekabet yaanacan savundu. Sahip olduu nemli petrol ve doalgaz rezervleri nedeniyle Avrupal enerji irketlerinin imdiden ranl enerji yetkilileriyle grmeye baladna iaret eden Vakhshouri, "ran enerji sektr iin yeni yatrm dzenlemeleri gerekletirdi. Bu dzenlemeler, eskiye oranla ok daha cazip bir yatrm ortam yaratyor" dedi.

Anadolu Agency:
July 21, 2015

A new era for 'energy titans' begins

Sara Vakhshouri, the head of Washington-based energy company, SVB Energy International, and a former advisor to National Iranian Oil Company International, told Anadolu Agency that many European energy companies have already started negotiations with Iranian energy officials. Vakhshouri, who noted Iran's massive oil and gas resources, said that its oil, gas and condensate production will rise in the next few years. She added that Iran has introduced new investment plans to attract foreign investment in their upstream energy sector. The so-called 'Iran Petroleum Contracts,' offer more enticing terms than their previous oil contracts.

July 21, 2015

Iran enerjide Rusya'ya rakip olacak

ran Ulusal Petrol irketi danmanlarndan SVB Enerji irketi Bakan Sara Vakhshouri enerji piyasalarnn geleceiyle ilgili AA'ya konutu. Vakshouri, son dnemde yakn stratejik ilikiler gelitiren Rusya ve ran arasnda, kresel enerji piyasalarnda byk bir rekabet yaanacan savundu.

July 14, 2015

What the Iran nuclear deal means for oil prices

Even if all goes according to plan, the US and EU won't lift sanctions on Iran until 2016 at the earliest. Once that happens, Iran can finally start selling some of the roughly 30 to 40 million barrels of oil it currently has stored in vast floating tankers off its coast. That could push down, modestly, on oil prices.

Foreign Policy,:
July 14, 2015

Iran's Return to Oil Markets Is Good for Energy Firms but Bad for Russia

Sara Vakhshouri, a former advisor to National Iranian Oil Company International, said Iran is going to need quite a bit of outside help to reach its target of producing 5 million barrels per day by 2020. "To reach this goal Iran would need $70 billion of investment in its oil and gas fields," Vakhshouri, who is now president of SVB Energy International, wrote in a note circulated Tuesday morning. here will be a short-term impact to Tehran's getting back into the oil game, though it won't be nearly as substantial as the long-term impact. Iran is thought to have oil reserves of approximately 40 million barrels sitting on offshore tankers waiting to be sold. "This amount of stored oil can be sold even before any removal of oil export related sanctions. China, India, South Korea and Japan [all] have waivers from sanctions," Vakhshouri wrote. "Iran can also increase its oil and condensate production up to 800,000 barrels per day within the next six to 12 months," Vakhshouri said in a subsequent interview with FP. Vakhshouri said this presents Russian President Vladimir Putin with a difficult choice: cooperate or suffer. "If the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East don't cause any supply interruption, the market, the oil producers mainly OPEC and Russia have to agree whether to reduce their production or start a price war," she said.

USA Today:
July 14, 2015

Oil prices turn volatile after Iran reaches nuke deal

Sara Vakhshouri, a Washington-based energy analyst at SVB Energy International, said that with Iran's sanctions lifted it would be able to boost its oil production from 2.9 million barrels a day to 4.2 million barrels a day by 2020. Oil prices can also be expected to drop, Vakhshouri said, because Iran has as much as 37 million barrels of crude in storage on tankers floating in the Persian Gulf.

Washington Examiner:
July 14, 2015

Iranian oil expected to drive prices down

Iran could boost production from 2.9 million barrels to 4.2 million barrels per day by 2020, said Sara Vakhshouri, an energy analyst with SVB International. Iran also could immediately lower prices because it has stored about 37 million barrels of oil and condensate, a form of light oil, on offshore tankers that it can quickly release to the market.

Oil and Gas 360:
July 14, 2015

Iran Deal Reached: Predictions on Added Crude Exports Range from 400-800 MBOPD

A Credit Suisse conference call that was held with Iranian expert Dr. Fereidun Fesharaki forecast about 500 MBOPD coming back online by year-end 2015; analysts at Raymond James expect more than 500 MBOPD in the next 12-18 months; SVB Energy International predicts as much as 800 MBOPD (400-600 MBOPD in crude and an additional 200 MBOPD in condensate) in the next 6-12 months; Wood Mackenzie expects that exports will not reach 600 MBOPD until year-end 2017; and the IEA anticipates 800 MBOPD "within months of lifting sanctions."

نحوه بازگشت ایران به بازارهای انرژی دنیا در دوران پساتحریم

وسسه مشاوره انرژی SVB به تازگی در گزارشی با بررسی شرایط بازگشت ایران به بازارهای جهانی نفت و گاز در دوره پساتحریم پیش بینی کرد که این کشور می تواند ظرف ٦ ماه تا یک سال، روزانه ٨٠٠ هزار بشکه به تولید نفت خام و مایعات گازی خود بیفزاید. به گزارش شانا، موسسه مشاوره انرژی اس وی بی (SVB Energy International LLC) مستقر در واشینگتن در گزارشی با عنوان «بازگشت ایران به بازار انرژی در دوره پساتحریم» برآورد کرد که تولید کنونی نفت خام ایران روزانه حدود ٢ میلیون و ٩٠٠ هزار بشکه است، به طوری که تولید میعانات گازی و مایعات گازی حدود ٦٩٢ هزار تا ٧١٠ هزار بشکه در روز است. مطالعات موسسه مشاوره انرژی اس وی بی نشان می دهد که ایران پس از دستیابی به یک توافق جامع هسته ای با کشورهای گروه ١+٥ می تواند ظرف ٦ ماه تا یک سال روزانه ٨٠٠ هزار بشکه نفت و مایعات گازی به تولید خود بیفزاید. ...بر اساس این گزارش، روزانه ٤٠٠ تا ٦٠٠ هزار بشکه از این مقدار نفت خام و ٢٠٠ هزار بشکه دیگر آن میعانات گازی خواهد بود.

July 11, 2015

The Future of Saudi-Iranian Relations Will Be Written in Oil

Sara Vakhshouri, whose analyses of Iran's energy sector have been featured on LobeLog, argues that the oil ministry has set its sights too high. She recently wrote, "Iran would probably be capable of adding up to 800,000 b/d of oil and liquids to its production in the next 6 to 12 months." The decision to actually produce that amount will also depend on the timing of sanctions relief and the state of the market itself. Regardless, Iran will need access to international investment and technology in order to sustain and then expand this forecasted production capacity. Its aging oil fields are performing poorly in the absence of technically sophisticated injections of gas and water. Vakhshouri estimates that since 2011, Iran has failed to meet more than 60% of its injection targets. She believes that Iran's goal of reaching an output of 5.7 million b/d is overly ambitious. "It will take at least 3 to 4 years for Iran (from the time that it gets access to international investment and technology) to regain its pre-sanctions crude oil' production capacity," said Vakhshouri. Since Iran's production capacity hovered around 4 million b/d in the late 2000s, Iran could reasonably add a little over 1 million b/d in the first few years after an agreement.

Sina Finance:
July 7, 2015

伊朗核谈判有望达成协议 原油暴跌近8%

前伊朗石油公司分析师、现SVB主席Sara Vakhshouri表示,“一旦协议达成,伊朗可以增加20万桶/日的凝析油产量。另外,随着West Karun油田项目的完成,到2020年伊朗还可以额外增加65-70万桶的原油日产量。” 不过,Vakhshouri指出,要在2020年达到上述的中期产量目标,伊朗需要700亿美元的投资。 他还表示,到2018年South Pars的凝析油日产量将触及70-80万桶,2020年再升至100万桶。

USA Today:
July 5, 2015

Lawmakers alarmed over Iranian nuclear windfall

The lifting of other sanctions would allow Iran to boost its oil production from 2.9 million barrels a day to 4.2 million barrels a day by 2020, according to a report by Washington-based energy analyst Sara Vakhshouri of SVB Energy International. Oil prices are likely to fall in reaction to Iran's new oil output, Vakhshouri said.

July 3, 2015

Iran's Oil Production Boost Scenarios In A Post-Sanctions Era

The latest status of Iranian oil and gas fields indicate that Iran's cur- rent crude oil' production is about 2.9mn b/d, while its condensate and NGL produc- tion is about 692,000-710,000 b/d. Most of Iran's condensate is the by-product of the non-associated gas in the giant South Pars giant gas field, shared with Qatar. Iran's current condensate production is about 480,000 b/d and is expected to rise to 630,000 b/d by mid-2016. Field-by-field oil and gas studies indicate that Iran would probably be capable of adding 500,000- 800,000 b/d of oil and liquids to its production in the next 6-12 months. Some 300,000 to 500,000 b/d of this will be crude oil and NIOC can also add additional 200,000 b/d of condensate to its liquid production by mid-2016. This additional condensate will be from Phases 12, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of the South Pars gas field...

The Hill:
June 23, 2015

Iranian nuke deal won't lead to immediate windfall, think tank asserts

"A nuclear deal with Iran will not initiate an unchecked windfall of capital into Iran, a factor that may undermine Iran's confidence in a deal and the incentive structure for its adherence," authors Elizabeth Rosenberg and Sara Vakhshouri wrote. "The maintenance of some sanctions on Iran, even in a best-case scenario for nuclear diplomacy, and the threat of re-imposing tough economic sanctions if Iran circumvents the deal will serve concomitantly to temper what would otherwise be enthusiastic and potentially ubiquitous investment into Iran.

Foreign Policy,:
June 23, 2015

Will Western Firms Really Race Into Iran After a Nuclear Deal?

A Center for a New American Security report released Tuesday argues it could take months, if not years, for Western companies and institutional investors like Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank to invest in Iran's economy. There's a simple reason: It's not worth the risk. "The significant theme here is it's not going to be this tsunami of money pouring into Iran," Rosenberg, who is a senior fellow at CNAS, said. She coauthored the report with Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International.

June 23, 2015

Iran's oil output goals likely unrealistic because of risk, report says

"A more realistic assessment would be an expansion of up to 800,000 b/d within six months and a major oil output rebound only after 2016, though even this pace would put Iran on course for a structural shift and acceleration from the current modest pace of economic growth," the Center for a New American Security report states. The report claims it is unlikely that Iran's crude oil capacity -- currently at an estimated 3.8 million b/d -- would exceed 4.5 million to 5 million b/d by the early 2020s, or 5.5 million b/d by 2030.

Oil and Gas Journal:
June 1, 2015


Dr. Sara Vakhshouri wrote a piece on Iran's technical capability and market access for increasing its oil production rebound after the sanctions. 'For an oil market destabilized by geopolitical turbulence and oversupply, an important question is when Iranian production, now limited by international sanctions, might recover and rise toward the Islamic Republic's geologic potential. The question gains importance this month, by the end of which officials of Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany are to have concluded an agreement on Iranian development of nuclear weapons. Because Iranian negotiators have made ending the sanctions against it a priority, the possibility of a surge in exports from the country looms over the market. Yet a combination of factors complicates the ability of Iran to bring large new supply quickly to the market. Sanctions on oil exports are not the only impediment. The country also must solve technical problems, grapple with international sanctions on investment, and regain lost market share...'

USA Today:
May 31, 2015

OPEC meeting may be lull before the storm

"I don't think any significant decisions will come out of this meeting," Sara Vakhshouri, a Washington energy analyst, said of the upcoming session. "But if Iran reaches a deal, there's going to be more to discuss and more expectations at the next meeting." Vakhshouri, a former market analyst for the National Iranian Oil Company, said Teheran, with a nuclear deal in hand, would insist that other OPEC members "reduce their production and open space" for Iran to sell more oil on world markets...."If everything goes well by the end of June or early July, and sanctions start easing for Iran by the end of the year, Iran's production is going to rise slightly by the end of the year," she said. However, Vakhshouri notes that a nuclear agreement alone is unlikely to trigger big changes in oil prices soon. Iran's exports, which have fallen from 2.5 million barrels a day in 2012, when the sanctions began to take effect, to 1.1 million barrels a day now, will need time to recover, she said...."Considering all of the political turmoil in the Middle East, where most of the crude oil flow is coming from, prices have been relatively low," she said.

Gulf News:
March 28, 2015

Iran oil to put pressure on prices as nuclear talks in critical stage

Dr Sara Vakhshouri, President of the US based SVB Energy International and an expert on Iran said Iran can technically increase its oil production between 500,000 to 800,000 barrels per day within 3 to 6 months. "However this increase could only happen if there is an ease on sanctions against Iran's oil exports, and also capability of this country for finding new markets. It will have an immediate psychological effect on the market and will push the prices down."

Financial Post:
March 23, 2015

Spiderweb' of sanctions means Iranian oil unlikely to flood the market

"Iran could increase its oil production between 500,000 to 800,000 bpd within three to six months," according to Sara Vakhshouri, a Washington-based consultant who once worked at the National Iranian Oil Company." There are multi-layered sanctions by multiple entities and you cannot just flip a switch and make them go away. "According to Iran's five-year plan, the country had to invest US$255 billion in its energy industry from 2011-2015," Ms. Vakhshouri said, noting that the industry fell well short of that target due to international sanctions and a ban on foreign investment."

March 5, 2015

Despite Netanyahu claim, cheap oil not seen swaying Iran behavior

"It is not possible for the United States to keep this consensus against Iran with European countries and other countries for much longer," said Sara Vakhshouri, an energy consultant based in Washington who formerly worked in Iran's energy sector. "The sanctions and this consensus could erode after some time."

Washington Examiner:
Feb. 26, 2015

Shale revolution will 'undermine' rivals, says Sen. Bill Cassidy

...'Middle East oil is projected to maintain its market share despite the competition from U.S. shale', said Sara Vakhshouri, president of consulting firm SVB Energy International. But it won't increase its slice of the pie because demand in the region is rising as petrochemicals industries soar and fuel subsidies encourage waste.

Gulf News:
Jan. 6, 2015

End of Iran sanctions to benefit UAE

Recently at an energy conference in Abu Dhabi, Dr Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International said an additional oil of 500,000 to 600,000 barrels of oil per day will enter market in the next six to eight months if sanctions on Iran are lifted.

Jan. 6, 2015

For Saudi Arabia, Supply and Demand Trump Geopolitics

.."But lower oil prices today could provide an opportunity for Iran to regain its lost market share in the medium to long term. More than half of Iran's export capacity was wiped out due to sanctions after 2011. What with the anticipated growth in overall oil supplies from unconventional sources - as well as from Iraq, whose production was expected to increase rapidly with the signing of major contracts with Western oil companies, at least before the Islamic State's big offensive - the market neither wanted nor needed a flood of Iranian crude. But if current low oil prices persist over the next two years and unconventional oil production declines, Iranian oil will be poised to take up the slack, particularly if Tehran reaches an agreement with the P5+1 on its nuclear program. However, it would take a year or two before Iran could increase its oil production to anywhere near pre-sanctions levels."

Gulf News-:
Nov. 30, 2014

Iran, Iraq face difficult time as oil prices plunge

Dr Sara Vakhshouri, president of US-based SVB Energy International and an expert on Iran, said the country's economy is going to hurt but they could overcome this by raising taxes. "I think they can manage it but it depends for how long. It will be hard for people due to taxes."

Gulf News:
Nov. 17, 2014

Oil to be in focus at Abu Dhabi energy meet

Abu Dhabi: Important issues affecting the oil and gas industry will be discussed as part of an annual energy conference being held at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (Ecssr) in Abu Dhabi from Tuesday. Dr Sara Vakhshouri, president of the US based SVB Energy International will talk about Iran, potential and implications of a full return to energy markets during the conference.

Gulf News:
Nov. 3, 2014

Iran faces a budget deficit as oil prices fall

"The best strategy for Iran would be to reach an agreement with the group of P5+1 countries (United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France and Germany) so that sanctions are eased and the country would be able to increase its production and export. This could reduce its budgetary gap and help Iran to regain its pre-sanctions market share," said Sara Vakhshouri, President of US-based SVB Energy International, a global strategic energy consulting firm specialised in oil and gas industry. She said that Iran will not push for production cuts at this month's Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) meeting in Vienna. "Therefore it's not in Iran's interest to push for Opec production drop, as its export is already at its minimum range and this country would not want to lose additional market share. Also, if Opec and Iran reduce their production, there is no guarantee that non-Opec producers would do the same," she added.

Iran Review:
Oct. 17, 2014

Is Iran in Oil Price War with Saudi Arabia?

"Saudi Arabia has started reducing its oil prices without cutting its production, and could have different reasons for this. Change of sale strategy could be the most important cause of this action. Saudi's strategy has been shifted from maintaining a higher range of oil prices in to maintaining and securing its market share'. Instead of waiting for more oil to come into the market and drop the prices, Saudi has take the initiative to adjust itself and its economy to the lower oil price and increasing its market share by offering discounted oil prices."......"Regarding the oil pricing and sale strategy, Iran has already taken the best possible strategy to maintain its market share by offering the same range of discounts that Saudi is offering to its customers. Iran is currently struggling with different sanctions and limitation on its oil export and cannot easily increase its production and export in order to reduce the gap of its expected revenue based on the previous price range. However the reality of the market, lower demand growth and bullish supply growth, has created a serious competition among the major oil producers in the market to maintain and secure their market share. Therefore, Iran has to play the same game that others are playing."

Oct. 16, 2014

Explainer: The Oil Price Plunge

..."On the one hand, the acceleration of higher energy efficiency, combined with higher energy prices, the economic crisis in Europe and lower economic growth in China have all put pressure on overall energy demand growth. On the other hand, the global energy supply has had a bullish growth mainly because of the shale oil boom in North America and Iraqi oil output. Yet the lower growth of demand and the higher rate of supply growth have both altered concerns over energy security paradigms, shifting from the security of supply to concerns about the security of demand and the profitability of oil production (in the case of unconventional oil). Keen competition among producers to maintain market share, concerns over the unconventional oil production's profitability, and the effect of lower oil prices on oil dependent economies are all consequences of this broader change in the balance between supply and demand in global energy markets."...

Aug. 4, 2014

Iran, One Year Under Rouhani

"Rouhani and his team's efforts to reduce sanctions on Iran through the nuclear talks has so far prevented the further cutting of Iranian crude oil production and exports," said Sara Vakhshouri, an energy expert and former advisor to the National Iranian Oil Company. "The [sanctions relief] has not had an immediate significant effect on the economy, but it has certainly had a positive psychological impact on the people," she said...

June 30, 2014

Iraqi Turmoil And the Global Oil Market

On Saturday June 21, Iraq's largest refinery at Baiji finally succumbed to the forces of the radical Sunni militant group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, often referred to as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS), after being under siege for nearly two weeks...

May 22, 2014

Russia, China Finally Sign $400 Billion Energy Deal: Why Now?

After almost a decade of negotiations, Moscow reached a 400 billion dollar energy deal with Beijing yesterday, allowing the Russian state-controlled Gazprom to export gas to China for 30 years.

May 5, 2014

Iran-India energy ties may take off

Following the Geneva interim deal on Nov. 24, 2013, and the partial ease of sanctions against Iran, India's oil secretary, Vivek Rae, announced that India is ready to pay $1.5 billion to Iran for its oil imports...

April 25, 2014

Gasoline Prices: Iran's Achilles' Heel

The new gasoline prices were announced at midnight on April 24 by the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC).The price for the semi-subsidized gasoline will be 7,000 rials per liter (27 cents) and 10,000 rials (42 cents) for free market price gasoline...

April 9, 2014

The Ukraine Crisis: A Game-Changer in the Global Energy Market?

The tension between Russia and the West, and particularly the European Union, over Crimea has once again raised questions over the security of energy supplies and the use of energy as a tool of foreign policy and diplomacy...

Iran- Russia Energy Deal

يساور الولايات المتحدة الأميركية قلق من مساعي إيران لإبرام اتفاق مقايضة خاص بالطاقة مع روسيا، وذلك بعد أن أحرزت طهران وموسكو تقدما باتجاه اتفاق لمبادلة النفط بالسلع قالت مصادر إيرانية إن قيمته قد تبلغ عشرين مليار دولار، وسيمكن طهران من تعزيز صادراتها النفطية الحيوية في تحد للعقوبات التي يفرضها الغرب

Feb. 26, 2014

Iran offers new terms for oil contracts

The new Iran Petroleum Contract will offer greater incentives to international oil and gas investors by offering higher potential profits and lower investment risks. The goal of contract is to attract investment and technology to the Iranian oil industry and to increase the industry's overall ...

Financial Post:
Sept. 26, 2013

Iran's Return to the Market could Send Prices Diving

Iran's return to the oil market could trigger a "positive supply shock," sending oil prices plunging by as much as US$20 per barrel, although Saudi Arabia will probably move swiftly to ensure a softer, $10-drop in crude prices..

Sept. 26, 2013

Saudi Arabia's challenge: Decouple fiscal spending from crude price

"The Arab Spring forced the kingdom to increase its public expenditure in order to keep its 27 million people calm. Saudi Arabia's domestic expenses in 2011 increased to USD 129 billion, which is about half of its oil revenues," Dr. Sara Vakhshouri, president at Washington D.C.-based SVB Energy International, told Zawya. "It is estimated that the country needs to sell its oil at least in the range of USD 80 to USD 85 per barrel to balance its budget. This number is expected to increase to above USD 110 per barrel within the next couple of years," Dr. Vakhshouri said.

Aug. 22, 2013

Iran Oil Minister Vows to Revive Output as He Eyes Price War

In his first few days as oil minister in President Hassan Rohani's new government in Tehran, the 61-year-old initiated plans to revive oil production to pre-2005 levels, hinted at a price war to win old customers and brought back managers sidelined by the previous administration...

Atlantic Council:
Aug. 1, 2013

Iran's Oil Minister Confronts Sanctions

Iran's oil personnel and managers became adept then at navigating hurdles and blockages. For example, shipping Iranian oil through the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf, with the high risk of being targeted by Iraqi missiles, was one of their formative experiences...

Al- Monitor:
June 24, 2013

Production-Sharing Contracts Could Help Renew Iran Oil Market

For the first time since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran is offering production-sharing contracts (PSCs) for investment in its upstream energy field, which involves exploration and production stage of the hydrocarbons industry...

May 8, 2013

Iran's Oil Production At Lowest Since 1986

In the last week of April, the US Energy Department issued a report showing that Iran's crude oil and condensate exports have dropped to their lowest level in the past 26 years. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that Iran's net oil export revenue in 2012 was $69 billion, down from $95 billion in 2011...

Feb. 6, 2013

Is Iran's December Oil Export Hike Permanent?

Sanctions against Iran by the European Union and the United States, which aim to change Iran's attitude toward its nuclear program, have increased pressure on its oil export and revenue. This resulted in the reduction of Iran's oil exports from 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in late 2011 to around between 900 thousand to slightly above 1 million bpd until October 2012...

Oil and Gas Journal:
Dec. 14, 2012


From the outset, the discussion's question seemed provocative: Can the world live without Iranian oil? Panelists at the Dec. 5 event at the Atlantic Council agreed that global prices haven't shot up because the country's production has fallen so far in recent years...

World Gas Intelligence:
Aug. 22, 2012

Iranian Gas In US Cross-Hairs

"I think the sanctions ... have two goals," Sara Vakhshouri, president of Washington consultancy SVB Energy International and previously an advisor to the director of National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC), tells WGI. "To increase the psychological pressure on Iran and to prevent Iran from having any long-term strategic relations with its gas customers. [A decision] may not have a significant effect on Iran's income or on the global gas market ... but it will prevent Iran's gas consumers from having a long-term trade and reliance on the country's gas."

Al- Monitor:
June 26, 2012

Rising Iraqi Oil Output Greases Iran Sanctions

Despite bureaucratic hurdles in Iraq and the continued absence of a national oil law, the challenges there to production and exports pale in comparison to Iran's situation...