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Iran threat: Kuwait mulls emergency export plans

Kuwait City, June 30, 2008

Kuwait is developing precautionary plans to ensure oil exports in case Iran closes the vital Gulf oil route, state news agency Kuna on Monday quoted an official as saying.

'There are precautionary plans to export Kuwaiti crude in cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council but those plans are not finalised yet,' Kuna quoted Saad al-Shuwaib, head of state oil company Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) as saying.

He gave no more details.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards said Tehran would impose controls of shipping in the vital Gulf oil route if Iran was attacked, Guards commander-in-chief Mohammad Ali Jafari told an Iranian newspaper on Saturday.

'If any military tensions occurred oil prices will reach $200 (per barrel),' said KPC's Shuwaib.

Meanwhile, oil rose more than $2 a barrel on Monday heading towards a new record high of $143, propelled by heightened tensions between Israel and Iran over Tehran's nuclear programme.

A fall in the US dollar to three-week lows versus the euro helped boost the market.

US light crude was up $2.42 at $142.63 a barrel by 0929 GMT, within reach of the record $142.99 struck on Friday.

London Brent crude was up $2.39 cents to $142.70.

'The US dollar is down and there are many high-level geopolitical news items, particularly in the Middle East, that are pushing prices up,' said Mark Pervan, a senior commodities analyst at the Australian & New Zealand (ANZ) Bank in Melbourne.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have said Iran would impose controls on shipping in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz if it were attacked.

The Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway separating Iran from the Arabian Peninsula, accounts for roughly 40 percent of the world's traded oil flows.

Iran's foreign minister said on Sunday he did not believe Israel was in a position to attack his country over its nuclear programme. Oil prices have jumped more than 40 percent this year, extending a six-year rally, in response to Middle East tensions, plus expectations that supply will struggle to keep pace with rising demand from emerging economies such as China and India. The market is sensitive to any supply disruptions. - Reuters




Tags: Iran | Kuwait | oil export |

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