Capitalizing on laxer US enforcement of sanctions and strong Chinese demand, Iran is maximizing its crude oil and condensate sales to generate a key revenue stream. Much of this year’s export gains have come from drawing down volumes previously held in floating storage, but Iran has also implemented a substantial production boost. MEES estimates that Iran added around 200,000 b/d of crude oil production in August, bringing it to 2.98mn b/d (MEES, 8 September). Both production and exports are on course for their highest annual figure since the return of sanctions in 2018.

Exports averaged 1.39mn b/d for the first eight months of 2023 according to the anti-Islamic Republic advocacy group UANI, which closely monitors Iranian shipments. This is comfortably higher than any post-sanctions annual figure, and is set to rise further by year-end with exports averaging more than 1.5mn b/d over the past three months. However, despite the gains, volumes remain well below pre-sanctions levels of around 2.5mn b/d (see chart). (CONTINUED - 1131 WORDS)