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Iran Claims Its Oil Exports Have Been At 700,000 Bpd Since March

Iran said on Wednesday that its oil exports have averaged between 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) and 700,000 bpd since the start of the Iranian year in March, yet analysts estimate that Iran’s oil exports have been lower.

Hamid Pourmohammadi, deputy head of Iran’s budget and planning organization, told Iranian semi-official Fars news agency that Iran’s exports since the start of the Iranian year have averaged 600,000 bpd - 700,000 bpd, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Commenting on the official’s words, one industry source told Reuters:

“It seems the Iranian official is talking based on the dollar amount received by Iran and he might be mixing crude and petroleum products.”  

Iran continues to export oil despite the maximum pressure campaign of the U.S. and its efforts to bring Iranian oil exports down to zero. Iran doesn’t officially report exports or production and resorts to various inventive ways to hide the true origin of the oil it exports.

Since the U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil industry and exports in May 2018, the Islamic Republic has been using various tactics to ship crude abroad without being detected, including by tankers switching off transponders or documents stating the oil does not originate from Iran.

Iran is forging oil export documents so it can pass its oil on the market as non-Iranian crude, thus skirting the U.S. sanctions, Iran’s top oil official was quoted as saying in September.

“What we export is not under Iran’s name. The documents are changed over and over, as well as specifications,” various media reported Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh as saying.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing documents and U.S. officials, that Iranian tankers are hiding in Iraqi waters to do their ship-to-ship transfers of crude oil to avoid U.S. sanctions.

While no one outside Iran seems to really know how much oil Iran pushes on the market currently, the Islamic Republic could return legitimately to the oil market in a year or so, if Joe Biden follows through with his intention to offer Iran a path back to diplomacy.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • naveen sreedevan shitijibes unilever on November 12 2020 said:
    good insights from Dr mamdouh Salameh. Sir, also take a look at Natural gas prices At $3.1 the one year daily chart has formed a double bottom and now it has a 'famous' cup and handle formation. this according to the great technical expert william o'neil of investors dot com IBd is a very bullish pattern.
  • jone al sharon biriyani indian on November 12 2020 said:
    this is really Bullish news for oil. Already citi has forecast $60 oil price by jan 2021.
    same as is the case for gold/silver even oil prices have been suppressed by wallstreet futures market with pessimism.
    I am expecting oil prices of $75 by march, in less than six months form today.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on November 12 2020 said:
    If Iran is admitting that its crude oil exports have been averaging 700,000 barrels a day (b/d) since March at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can bet your money that its exports have been much higher than 700,000 b/d. In fact, Iran’s exports in October hit 1.5 million barrels a day (mbd).

    In general Iran doesn’t disclose the full volumes of its oil exports in order not to invite more sanctions against itself. However, US sanctions have failed miserably with Iran openly exporting its crude to its usual customers like China, India, Turkey and covertly to many other countries via ship-to- ship transfers, with Iraqi oil shipments and barter trade. Iran’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh even admitted that Iran’s oil shipment documents and specifications are changed over and over to evade US sanctions.

    And while President-elect Joe Biden may be less aggressive than Trump in dealing with Iran, he won’t ease the sanctions until Iran shows willingness to renegotiate some aspects of the current nuclear deal.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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