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Iran Claims Oil, Petrochem Exports Hit Highest Since 2018

Iran’s exports of crude oil, condensates, and petrochemical products hit their highest level in the Iranian month of November since 2018, when the U.S. reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s oil industry, Petroleum Minister Javad Owji said.

“Iran’s oil industry is currently at the forefront of the economic war and the highest sanctions have been imposed on the industry,” Iran’s news agency ILNA quoted minister Owji as saying.

Iran has achieved “significant growth” in its domestic energy sector and presence on foreign markets despite the “cruel sanctions,” the minister was quoted as saying.

Despite the U.S. sanctions on its oil and banking industry, Iran has continued to export its oil since 2018, with under-the-radar shipments headed mostly to China and barter cargoes to Venezuela.

Last week, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi claimed that the country’s oil exports had reached pre-sanction levels.

Referring to the now-stalled nuclear talks, Raisi said that “Tehran has already expressed its stances and it is the US that must make up its mind.”

Although sanctions on Iran’s oil exports remained in place, the Islamic Republic shipped more crude oil, primarily to China, in 2021 than in 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in an overview of Iran’s oil industry published last week.

The EIA estimates that Iran’s crude oil and condensate exports averaged more than 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2017, the year before the United States reimposed sanctions when it fell to an average of 400,000 bpd in 2020. Iran’s exports began to rise in November 2020 and reached an average of more than 600,000 bpd in 2021 as a result of shipping more crude oil to China. Estimates based on ClipperData show that Iran’s oil exports averaged more than 700,000 bpd in the first quarter of 2022, the EIA said.


Meanwhile, anti-government protests in Iran continue for a third month, and even oil workers have joined them. Meanwhile, authorities are trying to crack down on the biggest mass dissent in the country in decades. In October, dozens of Iranian oil workers joined nationwide protests, and striking petrochemical workers at the Asaluyeh refinery chanted “death to the dictator” and walked off the complex on October 11, a video shared on Twitter by Bloomberg showed. The workers also set tires on fire to block the road for Iran’s security forces.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on November 23 2022 said:
    US sanctions against Iran have failed miserably to cripple Iran’s oil industry exactly as they did against Venezuela and Russia.

    In 2017 the year before the US re-imposed sanctions on Iran, Iranian crude oil exports amounted to 2.125 million barrels a day (mbd) according to the authoritative OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin.

    Reports from different sources estimated that Iran has been managing to export an estimated 1.5 mbd or 71% of pre-sanction levels the bulk of which has been going to China and India. Two years ago former Iranian Foreign Secretary even boasted openly in a conference in Qatar that “Iran has perfected the art of evading US sanctions and that it could help other countries do so for a price”.

    If the announcement last week by the Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi that Iran’s oil exports had reached pre-sanction levels is confirmed, then Iran has no interest whatsoever to re-join the nuclear deal. This is being confirmed by Iran announcing that it is now enriching uranium at a 60* purity level at its Fordow underground nuclear facility, one technical step away from weapons-grade levels for the first time. The nuclear deal capped enrichment at 3.67%.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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