Oil exports from Iran show surprise boost

Imports and Exports | | MIC Customs Solutions |

More crude oil has been coming from Iran - but for how long remains to be seen as sanctions loom.

The amount of oil being exported from Iran increased during the first half of this month, surprising many analysts who assumed forthcoming sanctions would take figures lower.

According to preliminary tanker tracking data from S&P Global Platts' trade flow software, Iranian crude and condensate exports averaged 1.69 million barrels per day (b/d) in the first 15 days of September, a spike from 1.48 million b/d in the first half of August.

However, crude and condensate exports averaged 1.92 million b/d in August from 2.32 million b/d in July, something that this fresh boost may not be able to offset as key buyers start to reduce their dependence on Iran's oil.

Indeed, loadings for September so far remained below the average export figures for August.

The data showed that 1.5 million b/d out of total September volumes have been made up of crude, while condensate accounted for the rest.

Flows from Iran to Europe were found to be particularly strong for the first half of September, going up to 615,180 b/d. Demand from Italy, Turkey and Spain held firm, but it is expected that this could change once sanctions apply as of early November.

The US announced earlier this year that it would be reimposing sanctions on Iran following America's withdrawal from the 2015 agreement with Iran, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain to cut nuclear activity.

The restrictions apply to oil and transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, with India and other countries also instructed to decrease their oil imports from Iran to zero or face penalties themselves.

In the meantime, Iran is attempting to build storage on tankers as it tries to cope with a projected fall in its exports, and some importers are trying to devise ways of continuing their purchases on a more discreet basis.

It has been suggested that some businesses in a handful of nations may be considering shutting off automatic identification systems used to locate vessels, or carrying out ship-to-ship cargo transfers, both of which are not permitted but were used during the last period of sanctions.

Reuters recently reported that India may be seeking to sign an agreement that would mean it could pay Iran for oil in rupees in a bid to avoid the US sanctions.

Eventually, analysts believe the sanctions could hold back up to 1.4 million b/d in Iranian crude exports.