France wants Iran, Venezuela to return to international oil market

Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, June 28. The French presidential palace said on the 27th that in order to increase global oil supply and curb oil prices, it hopes that Iran and Venezuela will return to the international oil market.

Currently, Iran and Venezuela are sanctioned by the United States and the European Union, making it difficult to export oil to the international market.

Seeking “diversification” of oil supply

French President Emmanuel Macron is in the German Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen for the G7 summit.

Macron called for “supply diversification,” including the return of sanctioned Iran and Venezuela to international oil markets, a French presidential spokesman said on the sidelines of the summit. France has urged oil producers to boost output in “extraordinary ways”.

Since Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, the European Union has imposed six rounds of sanctions on Russia. Among them, the EU announced in April that it will stop importing Russian coal in August; on June 3, the EU announced an embargo on some Russian oil.

Russia is one of the major suppliers to the global energy market, accounting for 18%, 11% and 10% of global coal, oil and natural gas exports respectively.

French domestic oil prices are difficult to fall

France’s domestic refined oil prices continue to rise, and the people are complaining. According to media reports, French gasoline prices broke records in early June, with SP95-E10 gasoline reaching 2.066 euros/liter and diesel prices reaching 1.961 euros/liter.

French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told commercial FM TV on the 27th that he would urge the management of French oil and gas giant Total Energy to make further efforts to reduce domestic fuel prices.

Le Maire said: “Some parties are asking the government to increase public spending on fuel by an additional 20 billion to 25 billion euros, which is a huge amount of money, and if we do that, we will have to cut spending on other areas.”

He said that the French government’s debt scale has reached a “dangerous level” and the cost of borrowing is now rising. The French government is now issuing new bonds with interest rates exceeding 2%.

According to Agence France-Presse, France’s current public debt is 2.9 trillion euros, equivalent to 114.5% of its gross domestic product (GDP).

Le Maire said that on the one hand, the French government needs to reduce the scale of public debt, and on the other hand, it needs to protect national interests in a responsible way, so it needs to make appropriate choices.

There are signs of sanctions against “relaxation”

In addition to the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, Iran is most likely to increase oil supplies. Some analysts say Iran’s supply could increase by 1.2 million barrels a day if U.S. sanctions are lifted. As of mid-February this year, Iran’s oil storage on tankers had reached 100 million barrels, meaning that it could increase supply by 1 million barrels per day in more than three months, equivalent to 1% of global production, according to French Kepler data. .

Negotiations between the United States and Iran to resume implementation of the comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue were suspended again in March. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, visited Iran last week. He said on the 25th of this month that negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue will be resumed within a few days, and the talks will take place in a certain Gulf country.

A senior official from the Dutch Vitol Group, a global oil trading giant, said on June 5 that the U.S. government may acquiesce in allowing Iran to export more oil to the global market while still under U.S. unilateral sanctions, in order to stabilize oil prices and reduce gasoline in the United States Economic and political pressure from high prices.

In Venezuela, the United States has imposed comprehensive economic sanctions and financial blockades on Venezuela since 2018, including a ban on the export of Venezuela’s pillar industries such as oil and gold. Several people familiar with the matter disclosed in early June that two European energy companies may start shipping Venezuelan oil to Europe as soon as July, resuming the “oil foreclosure” project that was suspended two years ago due to the U.S. government’s increased sanctions on Venezuela. (Guo Qian)