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November 06, 2018 @ 20:48 +03:00
Iran’s oil exports have fallen sharply since U.S. President Donald Trump said at mid-year he would reimpose sanctions on Tehran, but with waivers in hand the Islamic Republic’s major buyers are already planning to scale up orders again.
The original aim of the sanctions was to cut Iran’s oil exports as much as possible, to quash its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and curb its support for militant proxies, particularly in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. But the exemptions granted to Iran’s biggest oil clients – China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey – allow them to import at least some oil for another 180 days and could mean exports start to rise after November. This group of eight buyers imported over 80 percent of Iran’s roughly 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil exports last year, Refiniv Eikon data shows.
Iran’s crude exports have fallen significantly from at least 2.5 million bpd in April, before Trump in May withdrew the United States from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions, although estimates vary.
As a result of pre-sanctions pressure by Washington, Iran’s oil exports in November may not exceed 1 million to 1.5 million bpd, according to industry estimates. Companies that monitor Iran’s shipments are already seeing a drop in tanker activity this month. Iran expects to maintain crude exports of at least 1.1 million bpd after the reimposition of sanctions, a source familiar with Iranian thinking said, as the global market is too tight to allow a full stoppage. In October, Iran’s crude exports were estimated at 1.82 million bpd by Kpler and 1.5 million bpd by another firm that monitors Iranian shipments.
Trading sources said several Asian oil importers were looking to increase their orders for Iranian oil soon.