Russia and Iran take double hits from lower oil prices and sanctions

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil is at $81 per barrel. Brent crude oil is at $86 per barrel. Previously there up in the $105-115 per barrel range. Prices a few years ago were as high as $130 per barrel.

Iran and Russia are particularly hammered by lower oil prices. Both have sanctions placed on their ability to trade oil. Those sanctions lower the price that they can get for oil even more than the lower market price.

Only six buyers are still allowed to take crude from Iran – – China, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and Taiwan — down from 21 before the restrictions went into effect in mid-2012.

Saudi Arabia also has very low costs for its oil production. Saudi Arabia can take the long view and let lower oil prices eventually reduce higher cost oil production.

The Obama administration says Iran’s oil exports have been reduced by more than half from 2.5 million barrels a day before sanctions. The U.S. also says Iran is losing as much as $5 billion a month in oil revenue.