As the world, particularly the West, is facing a grave energy crisis caused by growing demand for fossil fuels, the U.S. sanctions on Iran have hindered an alleviation of the crisis.
With major economies slowly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the previous harsh winter having depleted Europe’s gas reserves and cold days ahead, global demand for energy has shot up and commodity prices are consequently going up.
In European states, gas prices are at record levels, leading to significant increases in the price of other goods and services.
Britain is one of the hardest-hit European countries due to the dwindling North Sea supplies and its limited gas storage. Among others, Spain and France are also suffering from the crisis, seeing surges in electricity prices and other commodity prices.
Meanwhile, gas prices are soaring in the United States amid a sudden increase in the price of oil, USA Today has reported.
A real solution to the energy crisis is still not in sight. Although Russia has promised to increase exports, the remaining major fossil fuel suppliers currently seem either unable or unwilling to make a significant contribution to the alleviation of the crisis.
The global energy market needs new blood, analysts have said.
IRAN AS A RELIABLE SUPPLIER
Iran has abundant hydrocarbon resources. It held 32 trillion cubic meters of proven gas reserves as of 2019, ranking second in the world and accounting for about 16 percent of the total global natural gas reserves, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2020.
In addition, the report said the country held 156 billion barrels of proven oil reserves as of 2019, ranking fourth in the world and accounting for about 9 percent of the entire global oil reserves.
The country, located along the International North-South Transport Corridor and having access to the high seas, Europe through Turkey and Central Asia, can also be a source of rather cheap energy owing to its geographical position, said observers.
Prior to Washington’s withdrawal in 2018 from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the reimposition of the unilateral sanctions mainly targeting the oil and gas sector, Iran used to pump about 2.8 million barrels per day of crude oil into the global market.
Iran is also exporting gas to some neighboring countries, including Turkey and Iraq, and can be a reliable supplier to Europe as well as the rest of the world in the long run.
Iranian energy expert Morteza Behrouzi told state-run news outlet ISNA that Iran can increase its oil exports by 1.5 million barrels per day in less than six months if the sanctions are lifted, which can create a win-win situation.
WHAT’S THE OBSTACLE?
The U.S. sanctions on Iran have, however, deprived the world of the boon as they have denied the Islamic Republic access to billions of dollars in annual revenues, thus creating a zero-sum game.
Earlier, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji has said that the United States and some European countries have hindered Iran from exporting oil for many years, and Iran is not the only one paying the price. This unilateral policy also has a negative impact on the American and European people.
Speaking after a key meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, the minister said “Iran is ready to resolve the ongoing fuel crisis in the world and make up for the shortages.”
To that end, he advised the Western decision-makers “to learn the lesson and help with the crisis” by lifting the unlawful and unjust sanctions on the country’s hydrocarbon sector. Enditem