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What I Saw at the Recent Iranian LNG Summit Is Important for All U.S. Investors

"Trust, but verify" is a well-known phrase from the Reagan era, often used by the White House back then when discussing negotiations with the Soviet Union.

But President Reagan knew he was actually adapting a much older Russian proverb – Доверяй, но проверяй ("Doveryai, no proveryai").

Such are the often strange twists in international diplomacy.

I mention this because a critical energy conference I attended last week reminded me that we may well be revisiting that territory. Territory that is, for me, familiar because of the international geopolitical arc of my career.

This time around, however, the United States isn't exactly dealing from a position of strength. These talks were made so much harder by America's self-inflicted wounds.

Investors run a real risk of missing out here…

What I Saw as the Only American in the Room

There were two parallel sessions at last week's Iranian LNG & Gas Summit in Germany's financial center, Frankfurt.

On one level there was the official program of the first international summit devoted to Iranian natural gas and LNG (liquefied natural gas, the key to exporting gas beyond the reach of pipelines).

On another level there was a series of meetings held on the margins of the summit. The discussion here was much more frank and forthcoming, in some cases resulting in quite pointed and direct conversations.

That I was the only American here occasionally put me at the center of matters. And that's not the only reason why the summit was grueling.

It now looks like the U.S. energy industry, and more importantly, American shareholders, are going to be left behind as the rest of the world rushes to cash in on a major new market…

Iranian-American Tensions Couldn't Come at a Worse Time

I gave some formal presentations before and throughout the summit. But it was the sidebar conversations that took up most of my available time, such that by the time it was over, I was beginning to feel exhaustion creep in.

With the world's largest conventional gas reserves, Iran has always been regarded as a likely main player in the developing global gas market. However, as with crude oil, the imposition of Western sanctions has impeded any progress for years.

That was supposed to change after 2015's so-called "nuclear deal" between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the U.S., China, Russia, France, and the UK – along with Germany).

Officially referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), the accord specifies Iranian compliance with an international demand that it pull back from developing nuclear weapons. In return, the international sanctions were to be phased out.

Tehran had always denied it had an interest in developing nuclear arms. Yet the United States repeatedly pointed to actions inside Iran that could not be explained in any other way.

An impasse ensued that both made life inside Iran worse and created protracted geopolitical friction.

These days there is still rhetoric coming from Washington alleging nefarious Iranian intent, compounded by an executive order (EO) prohibiting visas for Iranian citizens (and those of six other Muslim countries) trying to enter the United States, and, of course, the inevitable retaliatory moves against visas for U.S. citizens by both Iran and Iraq (another country on the "list of seven").

It's that particular development that has called into question my intended appearance in May at the Iranian Oil Summit in Iran's capital, Tehran.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court ruling may have prompted a suspension in the enforcement of the order, but the visa issue from Iran remains in limbo.

One conclusion, however, is very apparent from the long days of meetings…

Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

About the Author

Dr. Kent Moors is an internationally recognized expert in oil and natural gas policy, risk assessment, and emerging market economic development. He serves as an advisor to many U.S. governors and foreign governments. Kent details his latest global travels in his free Oil & Energy Investor e-letter. He makes specific investment recommendations in his newsletter, the Energy Advantage. For more active investors, he issues shorter-term trades in his Energy Inner Circle

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  1. Yanal Sago | February 24, 2017

    The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. we listen to reply.

  2. Yanal Sago | February 24, 2017

    Dr. Kent Moors ;

    “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

  3. Ty Jones | February 24, 2017

    In my humble opinion in response to Iran, The late President Obama signed in agreement with Iran, and as well Iran received a significant amount in monetary funding, not to mention the sanctions being lifted. I believe the new President of the United States should use that as leverage, That funding shouldn't be free, so whether the United States is a part of LNG or not, I strongly suggest their should be invested owed to the United States as a parent to Iran and the project. In lue of the United States not agreeing to take part.

  4. Robert F. Pacione | February 24, 2017

    Well! Maybe its dictating. God only knows there is enough of those. really good and really bad.

    Yet! I read everything you right. Id take a step back and remember the first thought that came to mind withing the actions of this person and the uncertainty that arose within you that had made you curious enough to question is behavior. Remember! What you were talking about that had sparked his interest to leave a meeting with the only American in the room. You being at the for front has me wondering more and more. Why! The secret is not safe with an American n the room. Easy enough.

    Actions speak louder than words. You have the ability to figure this out without words needed.

    your surroundings are shifting. Know your place within the shift in order to position yourself for a bit of safety and precaution. Answers lie within. Connections and his actions are what I feel A.I. will become one day. As the privacy of those who already monitor peoples behavior is on the rise to control. This is the same situation that is presenting itself in physical form. Thought comes to mind with "Trump". His tyrant egotistical mentality is great to an extent. But his agenda and behavior is creating doubt on the rest of the world. Were already aware that other countries are already planning to bring the kingdom down. It can be "Trumped". If seen and anticipated before hand as they do in the military and smart bullets are the defense against the Chinese missiles. I still wish they made Teslas particle beam. Personal opinion. Men and explosions will always make me wonder why the need within the power of the explosion is a rush for power and self worth of power exhausted through common behavior. Although the reality is defending the planet and preserving it for the greater reason.

    I firmly believe it is time. A new pattern is forming here and you need to in my opinion is take more time to retract that moment and find the puzzle pieces you already have to find the answer you already have from your first initial thought that you may have questioned.

    Stay Safe.

  5. Sharon Bolling | February 24, 2017

    Extreme caution should be exercised when "deal making" with Muslim countries. A lot of us vividly remember what happened the last couple of times the USA trusted Iran to keep their word.

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