By Staff Writer
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged oil companies on Tuesday to help the Trump administration reduce oil imports from malign state actors such as Iran and increase purchases of US oil and gas.
Pompeo told the IHS CeraWeek by IHS Markit conference – the oil and gas industry’s largest annual gathering in the US – that Iran and other countries are trying to use energy exports to increase their power over other nations.
He said: “Some nations are using their energy for malign ends and not to promote prosperity the way we do here in the West. We’re not just exporting American energy. We’re exporting our commercial value system.”
The oil companies Pompeo spoke to, included Chevron Corp, Total SA, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum Corp.
So far in the US’s ongoing effort, they have seen success in China, Japan and South Korea, all of which currently have sanctions waivers for purchases of Iran oil that will expire in May.
The other countries that were given sanctions waivers by the US, include India, Italy, Greece, Taiwan, and Turkey.
A US State Department representative confirmed that the US has not yet withdrawn the sanctions waivers.
They wrote in a statement: “Our policy goal remains to get all countries to stop purchasing Iranian crude as quickly as possible… Each of those jurisdictions had already demonstrated significant reductions of the purchase of Iranian crude over the past six months, and indeed two of those eight already completely ended imports of Iranian crude and will not resume as long as the sanctions regime remains in place. We continue working with the remaining [waiver] recipients to end imports of Iranian crude.”
Following the reimbursement of US sanctions on Iranian oil at the end of last year, due to the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the “Iran Deal”, Iran’s oil exports have already dropped to roughly 1 million barrels a day, less than half what they were in May 2018.
Pompeo, the former CIA director, said: “We have every intention of driving Iranian exports to zero as quickly as we can… “It isn’t a commercial transaction, it’s a political transaction.”
The goal is to cut off Iran’s financial revenues – oil exports are roughly 70% of their GDP – but also to prevent Iran from using these sales to gain political control in the countries it is selling to. The US is also strengthening ties with other Middle East nations in order to increase Iran’s political and economic isolation.