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Iran could double its crude oil exports if the world needs more oil, Bloomberg has reported, citing the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Co.
Despite the stalling negotiations on the new nuclear deal that, if finalized, would see U.S. sanctions on Iran removed, Iran stands ready to take full advantage of such a development.
Tehran, Mohsen Khojastehmehr said, will “exert maximum effort to recoup its crude oil market share and revive its customers.”
“As we managed to bring production back to pre-sanctions levels, now we claim that we can double oil exports and the capacity exists in oil terminals and other mechanisms to raise the oil exports,” the official also said, as quoted by Iran’s news agency IRNA.
Iran has indeed been expanding its production and exports. Towards the end of last year, exports rose to some 1.6 million bpd, and remained at this level over the first quarter of this year as well.
China is by far Iran’s biggest oil customer, taking in the bulk of what Iran exports despite the sanctions. To date, Iranian crude accounts for some 7 percent of total Chinese oil imports, per Reuters.
Meanwhile, the nuclear deal that could see Iranian crude return to international markets has stalled because of apparently irreconcilable differences between the Iranian and the U.S. sides. A glimmer of hope emerged earlier this month after a visit by the EU envoy on the issue to Tehran.
Following the visit, the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told the media that “The negotiations had stalled and now they have been reopened.”
Yet it will be a while before Iranian exports resume in full—one of the sticking points in the negotiations is the U.S. designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.
“These kind of things cannot be solved overnight. Let’s say things were blocked and they have been deblocked,” Borrell said last week.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.