Iran is going to offer its crude to Asian buyers, to be delivered in January, at US$1 per barrel less than this month, Reuters reports, citing a pricing document. The official selling price of Iranian Light crude was set at US$0.30 above the Platts Dubai/Oman average for January.
This makes Iranian Light US$0.30 a barrel cheaper than Saudi Arab Light, with Iranian Heavy costing US$1.25 less per barrel than the Kingdom’s Arab Medium grade, Reuters calculates.
The biggest buyers of both Iranian and Saudi crude are India and China, and now both countries are expected to boost their intake of Iranian oil after they were granted U.S. sanction relief for six months following the reimposition of sanctions on November 5.
Keeping its discounts in place is the only way for Iran to ensure buyers continue paying for its crude in the context of sanctions. That and finding payment mechanisms that do not trigger punitive measures from Washington.
Earlier today Reuters quoted President Hassan Rouhani as saying exports of crude had improved from a month ago.
“The goal of the Americans was to block our oil exports. I want to say frankly to our people that our oil exports after (Nov. 4) have improved by degrees,” Rouhani said on state TV. “So the Americans have been unsuccessful with regard to the oil issue.”
Iran was also exempted from the latest oil production cut agreed by OPEC and its partners led by Russia. Like Venezuela and Libya, Iran was allowed to continue pumping oil at current rates, which are below 3 million barrels daily.
Iran’s tracked oil exports in November plummeted by several hundred thousand barrels per day compared to October, as many Iranian customers hadn’t nominated barrels amid uncertainty whether they would get U.S. waivers to continue importing Iran’s oil after the sanctions retuned.
“Iranian crude exports so far in November are down several hundred thousand barrels per day from October levels,” Daniel Gerber, chief executive officer at tanker-tracking company Petro-Logistics, told Reuters on Thursday.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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