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Iran’s oil exports at record post-sanction highs

Iran says its total exports of crude oil and condensate have surpassed 3 million barrels per day (mb/d) – a level not seen for at least the past six years.

Iran’s oil exports at record post-sanction highs
(Monday, April 3, 2017) 10:41

Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum announced in a statement as reported by the domestic media that the country’s average exports of crude oil and condensate reached 3.05 mb/d over a period of a month starting 20 February 2017.

The period marked the last month of the past Persian calendar year that ended on 20 March 2017.

This came a few days after Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zanganeh said the country’s total exports of crude oil and condensate already stood at 2.8 mb/d, what he said was a new record in the country’s oil export activities after last year’s removal of sanctions that restricted its oil sales.

Zanganeh had emphasized that this marked a significant success for the country’s oil industry specifically given that it had been achieved within a short period after the removal of the sanctions last January.

“The pace of growth in Iran’s crude oil production and exports has amazed international observers who did not think Iran could raise its production by 1 million barrels per day within three to four months after the removal of sanctions,” Zangeneh said.

Iran’s oil exports stood at around 1 million bpd from 2012 to 2016 when the West intensified sanctions on the Islamic Republic as a result of disputes over its nuclear energy program.

Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum in its statement emphasized that almost a third of Iran’s oil exports – equal to over 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) – were currently destined for Europe. The country exported around 600,000 bpd of oil to Europe during pre-sanctions years.

Exports of condensate, it added, started only after the removal of sanctions against Iran. Iran previously had to store its condensate – a form of ultra light oil mainly used to make both fuel and plastic - in tankers at sea given that the sanctions prevented their sales.

Supplies that had been stored in tankers have been sold out, Iran’s IRNA news agency quoted the Ministry of Petroleum as saying in its statement.

Iran sells the bulk of its condensate to South Korea. In mid-July, the foreign media reported a major rise of 115 percent in South Korea’s combined imports of crude oil and condensate from Iran. The jump was mainly associated with the country’s interest in cheap but high-quality Iranian condensate.

A top oil Iranian official said last December that the country had started exports of condensate to Europe by sending a maiden cargo of one million barrels to certain EU clients.

Iranian officials have already emphasized that the country will be given more room for maneuver in the global energy market by converting condensate to products such as naphtha, aviation fuel and diesel.

To the same effect, Iranian officials have already announced ambitious plans to build at least eight new condensate refineries in the country’s South Pars natural gas zone. They say this is meant to prevent further sales of raw material in favor of selling the end products.

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