Govt 'confident' of avoiding US sanctions

2012-05-17 22:27

Cape Town -  South Africa, which receives a quarter of its crude from Iran, is holding almost daily discussions with the United States, European Union and Iran about reducing its purchases and is "confident" a deal can be struck to avert US sanctions, a senior energy official said on Thursday.

Washington, which with the EU is putting pressure on Iran to end activities they believe may be a front for nuclear weapons research, has threatened to penalise the banks of countries that do not significantly cut oil imports from Iran.

But Africa's biggest economy, which has suffered fuel shortages in the past because of strikes and refinery problems, may struggle to offset any reduction in imports from Iran to secure a waiver from these sanctions.

"Engagements continue, they are continuing probably on a daily basis with all these players and we are, I must say, confident we will find a solution, as the minister indicated, that will work for South Africa," Tseliso Maqubela, a deputy director general at the energy department, told reporters.

Maqubela said there would be a significant economic impact as companies would be forced to secure fuel elsewhere. At least one refinery, Engen, majority-owned by Malaysia's state oil company Petronas, is heavily reliant on Iranian fuel.

Speaking at the same briefing, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said South Africa was not certain to seek a waiver of sanctions.

"At present we can't say that the waiver is the route that we will ultimately be chasing, but we are looking at a range of options," she said without elaborating.

Some countries, such as South Korea, the world's fifth-largest oil importer, have warned they will find it difficult to replace Iranian supplies, and for South Africa too, there seems no easy option.

"Time is against South Africa, which is essentially being forced into a situation that might not be in its best macroeconomic interests," said Johan Muller, senior energy analyst at Frost and Sullivan.

"There are few alternatives available at this stage, the obvious one being to increase imports of fuel from Angola, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, but this would require significant re-engineering at certain refineries to accept new supplies.

"In the short term this would likely mean higher fuel prices for consumers and the industry, although this will stabilise in the longer run as alternate sources are found.

"At this point, pursuing a waiver might be the better option, but given the variables and geopolitical negotiations, it is difficult to predict exactly how this will play out."

Peters said the government would decide its response to proposed sanctions by the end of May.

  • daniel.motlhatlhedi - 2012-05-17 22:46

    bullied by westens as usual.

      ian.levinson.7 - 2012-05-17 23:02

      just remind me again, who was it that imposed sanctions on the apartheid government, was it your wonderful iran, nope, was it your wonderful china nope again, in fact it wasent a single of your commie nations that you worship so much, sanctions was imposed on the nats by the west that you hate so much, do you remember or werent you born before 1985

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-17 23:45

      Carrying a pseudo-victim mindset, unfortunately as usual.

      Denise - 2012-05-18 07:19

      who cares what the US wants n think? must we now buy more expensive oil just because the west is retarded n just wanna make war for profit n oil?

      Fidel - 2012-05-18 07:49

      Ian, the sanctions against apartheid SA were UN sanctioned, even though Britain under that witch thatcher tried in vain to shield SA from sanctions. These so called sanctions against Iran are an imperialistic unilateral excersise by western warmongers because Iran refuses to be a supplicant of western powers.

      Kevin - 2012-05-18 08:03

      Fidel the sanctions on Iran arise because of its refusal to comply with international law over the proliferation of nuclear weapons. No one could care that it is a non democratic theocracy that regulaly sponsors terrorism in the Middle East (think Lebanon), conducts show trials and tortures opponents of its regime. Why do we do business with Iran? Well it goes back to the 1970s when sanctions being imposed on South Africa were making it necessary to deal with odious regimes in various countries, South Africa gave support to the Shah of Iran and he sold us oil.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-18 18:42

      Denise, unfortunately the retardation is your ignorance about who the Iranian regime is, distinct from the Iranian people, and your selfish desire to have cheaper petrol over basic human rights for Iranians. It's you who wants oil, cheaper oil, not the US. The US is sacrificing cheaper oil for human rights. Why don't you do the same. You'll feel bigger and better (not in the Ego sense).

  • Francisco - 2012-05-17 23:03

    A fine balancing act indeed. But lets not forget that many South Africans asked European countries and the USA during apartheid to boycott SA-goods, which they and many African countries did. But now that the tables have turned we are worried about the economic impact.

      koos.vandermerwe.92 - 2012-05-18 06:51

      They are scared that the gravy train runs dry.

      Alf - 2012-05-18 07:29

      Did not Mr. Mandela sell all our oil reserves, telling the nation they would replenish the reserves with much cheaper oil from Iran? Did that ever happen? We are now buying from Iran, but everybody seems to have forgotten about the reserves we held! How long has the talk been going on about the possible sanctions against nations who keep buying from Iran? As usual we are waiting until the last moment and when the proverbial hits the fan it is the fault of the rest of the world! Maybe our minister of foreign affairs can convince all the countries involved to get into a huddle as she did during FLOP 17? DON'T MISS THE NEXT EPISODE OF THE BIGGEST COMEDY SHOW!

      Imtiaz - 2012-05-18 07:35

      Israel was the number 1 supporter of apartheid south africa

      Kevin - 2012-05-18 08:07

      Imtiaz you are wrong the major supporters were in Western Europe. They spoke sanctions and did business as usual. Apart from that Israel is a non viable financial entity and survives because of a huge amount of military aid from the USA.

  • Michael - 2012-05-17 23:07

    quick, we better do as America says, before they come and declare peace on us, introduce democracy to us, rape our women, kill our innocent families, and murder men like cowards using drones from thousands of miles away.

      Andre - 2012-05-18 07:23

      Do you really know what Iran (the government, not the people) stands for? Your logic is seriously lacking!

      Fidel - 2012-05-18 08:06

      It is not anti-American to be aware of the US' recent history, the lies and deceit spewed about Iraq's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. The illegal wars of aggression launched off of the back of those lies.

      Kevin - 2012-05-18 08:09

      Just like they did to Germany and Japan after the second world war.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-18 18:44

      Fidel, you have an unbalanced and jaundiced view of the US and freer works, at your own expense.

  • EricksonTL - 2012-05-17 23:08

    If these sanctions happen, I struggle to see how our government can cope. Even without economic sanctions, they're floundering. Might just be a tipping point.

      Arthur - 2012-05-17 23:16

      In a sick and twisted way maybe that's exactly what we need.

      EricksonTL - 2012-05-17 23:32

      Arthur, I have to agree. Economics played a big role in ending apartheid. It may yet bring the change we need in SA today. It's the period between that change and now that worries me!

  • Frank - 2012-05-17 23:25

    Cant believe that the DA's Cape Town is giving Obama the 'Freedom' of Cape Town award! I mean, how can you honour a bullie? We are busy fighting bullies at school and here's the DA giving acknowledgement to one... i mean really

      Francisco - 2012-05-17 23:39

      I think that this is probably the most unintelligent comment I have ever read on the whole world wide web (WWWW)but at least it made me smile.

      Fidel - 2012-05-18 07:51

      Not only a bully but a warmonger whose army is slaughtering innocent Afghans and Pakistani children and women.

      Kevin - 2012-05-18 08:11

      Fidel, and the Afghanis and Pakistanis gave aid and succour to terrorists who launched an attack on innocent men women and children in the US. What did they expect.

      sean.redmond3 - 2012-05-18 16:20

      He is only continuing what Bush started.

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-05-26 18:10

      Frank, the world is trying to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons ... .. so there's that .. I mean really .

  • wekunetsavamwe - 2012-05-17 23:42

    I thought s.a was a democratic country but I was shocked that the ministers are bowing down to the west in fear of sanction. Open your eyes next thing they are going to weaken the Rand.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-17 23:48

      The US best to decide who participates in its financial system. In any event, why would you want to support the oppressive Iranian regime? Do you have any idea who they are and what they do? I recommend informing yourself about this.

      Benn - 2012-05-18 03:26

      Yep, simple logic. The one, normally a parent, who provides the pocket money, has the last say.

      Juan - 2012-05-18 03:50

      Look SA has a very vunerable economy, the sanctions could be very damaging to us. The government cannot ignore the threat sanctions would pose wether we like it or not. It was sanctions that brought down the apartheid regime after all.

  • Ted - 2012-05-18 00:45

    Fuel price going down in June! Really under this shadow chinas?

  • siliziwem - 2012-05-18 01:49

    When will African problems be solved\r\nwith African solutions? Until then, we\r\nwill be bullied by the west! Which\r\nAfrican country tells the west what to\r\ndo? These people don't want a stable\r\ncountry in Africa, they want us to beg!\r\nWe need a stable Nigeria, Angola, DRC, Iran, Zimbabwe

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-19 15:18

      Grow up and educate yourself man. You're supporting oppression and violence by governments against their people. The US is standing up against this, at great cost to its economy which is struggling to get out of recession.

  • boitshoko.percy - 2012-05-18 04:07

    Aforika borwa ya modimo mathata a teng a gola tsatsi le letsatsi ( obua jaana a rotha keledi )

  • jimi.harrison.7 - 2012-05-18 05:37

    We shouldn't be too worried over what the usa says. They are actually israels puppet! Russia, south korea, china and all the countries relying on Iran for its oil won't stand still if war breaks out between Iran and usa. They gotta think how's it going to influence the rest of the world! So what if Iran has nuclear capabilities? Nearly every country has it.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-18 18:47

      You should inform yourself and look at the world through adult eyes. Russia doesn't import any oil. China and Korea's imports from Iran are dropping substantially. Even India's imports are dropping. Why would you want to support oppression. This is the bigger question.

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-05-26 21:39

      Jimi .. are you taking the p#ss ?!!?

  • mancoba.zitha.5 - 2012-05-18 06:16


  • braamc - 2012-05-18 06:34

    If you plan better, you won't have this problem, will you?

      koos.vandermerwe.92 - 2012-05-18 06:49

      Planning is not a trademark of Africa. Putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea. Something that is unclear to me isthis Engen story. When Mobil ran away there was a management buyout and Engen was formed. When/How did Petronas ended up as the majority shareholder?

  • Matthew.and.Denise - 2012-05-18 06:38

    Why does the government not ask their bosses in China to help out!?

      sbongezulu - 2012-05-18 07:25

      China is also in da same boat...

  • Lauden Kirk - 2012-05-18 06:47

    We have gold and raw material. Wtf. I understand all the trade implications and international laws bla bla bla. But we honestly mental.

      Fidel - 2012-05-18 08:04

      While western banks are manipulating the price of gold downwards (in order to disguise their failed currencies) the brics are buying up the subsidised gold by the hundreds of tons in order to build a stable, gold-backed, finanical system in which the world has faith. The gold is fast moving eastwards.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-18 18:48

      Fidel, more made up nonsense from you, and sheer delusion. All you're going is blinding yourself really.

  • koos.vandermerwe.92 - 2012-05-18 06:50

    Same 'confidence' as displayed during the tolls saga? Then it spells shortages for the consumers.

  • sbongezulu - 2012-05-18 07:09

    We have Sasol here which creates gas n related polymers from our coal. We also export lots of coal!! I think we can do without Iranian oil, Engen is the monster to benefit largely here while radical regimes get financed to keep us threatened, poor disarmed South Africa.

      taffaz.banhwa - 2012-05-18 07:45

      No man if resource from sasol were adequate enuf!!imports wddnt be preferd,bt actually we need them to offset tht imbalance!!what is produced here will neva b enuf!!

      Bantu - 2012-05-18 07:49

      Sbo I dont like the Iranian regime and what they stand for.If they can fund Hezbollah to advance terror on civilians they can flex their nuclear muscle to the detriment of the Globe.But my problem is with our sovereign country being dictated upon by other countries.Dont we have our own foreign policy?

      sbongezulu - 2012-05-18 10:43

      We only import a quater, 3/4 is sufficient to keep the economy running while re-engineering refineries without facing sanctions. Infact Sasol has the capacity to supply the whole of South Africa given our coal reserves. The real issue should be renewable energy for the energy department.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-18 18:55

      Sasol produces about 40% of our oil needs. This is the one good thing the Apartheid government gave us.

  • sharon.ackerman.77 - 2012-05-18 07:45

    Its amazing if you read the comments here, you realize how LITTLE people know what goes on in the world around them.

  • Pieter Mulder - 2012-05-18 07:48

    We have been threw sanctions before. Did is kill us, no. It made the countries people stronger, more innovative. We will survive it. Up them mr minister. They in a financial dilemma why should you be dictated too. They should have come with a softer approach.

  • Zahir - 2012-05-18 07:52

    So govt is saying they will increase the petrol price again due to sanction

  • Fidel - 2012-05-18 07:56

    The plus on this is that both India, Russia and China have devised a new way to trade Iranian oil using a basket of currencies minus the dollar, and from this we can hope that a new financial system will evolve. The Iranians haven't been found guilty of anything other than refusing to be pliable to western interests. The freedom and liberation of Africans includes the right to make decisions without being manipulated or dictated to by foreign powers, especially the former colonialists.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-18 18:51

      Russia doesn't import any oil. It doesn't need to. China and India's imports from Iran are dropping substantially. The bigger question again is why would you want to support the truly oppressive Iranian regime that adjusts elections, supports the stoning to death of women, funds Jihad that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of Muslims across the world, and abuses the Palestinians.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-18 18:54

      Africans are being called to make a choice, decide on a principle: do we support oppression, or do stand for human rights.

  • Moselesele - 2012-05-18 07:58

    Thank you US for fighting the war for the world, it is time SA'cans wake-up.

  • sean.redmond3 - 2012-05-18 15:04

    "is holding almost daily discussions with the United States, European Union and Iran about reducing its purchases and is "confident" a deal..........." Almost daily, that is optimistic, this is Africa. a deal.........": how much under the table goes to..............

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