Iran General NewsSaudis say have oil to make up for Iran:...

Saudis say have oil to make up for Iran: US’ Cantor

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Reuters: Saudi Arabia says it has enough oil output capacity to meet global customers’ needs if new sanctions keep Iran from exporting oil, a top U.S. Republican said on Friday.

WASHINGTON Jan 13 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia says it has enough oil output capacity to meet global customers’ needs if new sanctions keep Iran from exporting oil, a top U.S. Republican said on Friday.

House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor spoke to Reuters by telephone from Europe after several days of meetings in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi was among the officials he met.

“The Saudi government indicated that it was ready and able to meet needs of its customers,” Cantor told Reuters. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter. Its top customers include the United States, Japan, China and South Korea.

Cantor was addressing concerns that oil shortages may arise from new sanctions in the offing against Iran by the United States and European Union, aimed at discouraging Tehran’s nuclear program.

The United States has long embargoed Iranian crude, but has just approved new sanctions targetting Iran’s Central Bank, the main conduit for its oil revenues. The European Union, which collectively buys about 500,000 bpd of Iranian oil, is expected to soon impose an embargo halting imports.

The goal of the West’s increased pressure on Tehran is to stop the Islamic republic from building a nuclear weapon. Iran says its nuclear work is for peaceful purposes.

Cantor is the number two Republican in the Republican-majority House of Representatives, after Speaker John Boehner.

During his tour of the Gulf region with several other U.S. lawmakers, Cantor also met officials from Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“They also expressed the ability to have excess capacity coming on line later this year, as well as the capacity it has online now,” Cantor said of old producer UAE.

“I think the consensus is that there is enough capacity in the region to meet the needs of customers, excluding the exports of Iran,” he said.

Cantor said he would push for the speedy implementation of the new U.S. sanctions on Iran’s central bank, and he favored Congress passing further measures to penalize Tehran if it does not stop its nuclear program. (Reporting By Susan Cornwell; editing by Doina Chiacu and Todd Eastham)

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