While I’m listening to all the goofy post-game interviews after the Seahawks victory, I noticed this headline at Yahoo: “
Iran Sanctions Could Drive Oil Past $100.”
A surge in oil prices last week to almost $70 a barrel on concerns about the restart of Iran’s nuclear program only hints at what may lie ahead.
Prices could soar past $100 a barrel, experts say, if the U.N. Security Council authorizes trade sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation, which the West accuses of trying to make nuclear bombs, and Iran curbs oil exports in retaliation. A sharp global economic slowdown could follow.
That’s the dilemma the United States and European nations face as they decide whether to act. But Iran would also pay a hefty price if the petro-dollars that now represent 80 percent of export revenues are reduced, potentially stirring civil unrest in a nation with a 14 percent unemployment rate.
“They would shoot themselves in the foot,” said Mustafa Alani, director of national security and terrorism studies at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center. “It’s one thing to test the market psychology, it’s another to take the actual step and stop oil exports.”
Iran, the second-largest oil producer within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, exports roughly 2.5 million barrels per day — 1 million barrels more than current excess production capacity worldwide. It also controls the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a critical shipping lane in the Middle East.
“Even if Iran pulled a small amount of its oil off the market, say it pulled a half million barrels a day, I could see oil prices literally jumping over the $100 per barrel mark,” said James Bartis, a senior researcher at Rand Corp. … Read all