Iran: Exports Edge Up But Outlook Remains Bleak

The Iran nuclear deal stumbles on, quietly clocking up its third anniversary last week. Imports of Iranian barrels have edged up from November’s sub-800,000 b/d nadir with the resumption of Korean and Japanese buying. But, with Washington looking to ratchet up the pressure, and European IOCs voting with their feet, the outlook for Tehran looks bleak.

Of the eight countries granted ‘waivers’ by the US to continue imports of Iranian oil after Washington imposed swingeing sanctions from 5 November, only three actually imported any barrels last month. China, with 503,000 b/d, took well over half of the total, which MEES pegs at just over 900,000 b/d. The only other substantial buyer was India, with imports of just over 300,000 b/d, shipping data indicate, whilst Turkey took two cargoes totaling 58,000 b/d after taking zero for November.

December buying actually edged up somewhat on November, when imports of Iranian crude totaled a mere 772,000 b/d the lowest level since the aftermath of the 1979 revolution (see table). (CONTINUED - 1398 WORDS)


table Imports Of Iranian Crude & Condensate ('000 B/D): Volumes Edge Up In December; 2018 Down 580,000 B/D On 2017
chart Iran Keeps Asian OSP Prices At Record Lows In February Versus Competing Saudi Grades ($/B FOB, Asian Delivery)
chart Iran's Mediterranean OSPs Have Been Cut To Even Steeper Discounts