As key Opec members meet this weekend to decide whether to extend their ‘voluntary cuts’ into the second half of the year (MEES, 31 May), Iran will as always cast its support from the sidelines. The country has essentially been exempt from cuts ever since Opec+ cuts began in January 2017, while even nominal-quotas were removed following the return of US sanctions in 2018.

Despite sanctions remaining in force, lax enforcement has enabled a resurgence in Iranian output over the last three years. Last year marked a post-sanctions annual record, with oil production averaging 2.91mn b/d based on estimates from both Opec and the IEA. In the second half of 2023, output stabilized above the 3mn b/d mark. Thus far this year, it has even crept higher to 3.20mn b/d (see chart 1). The IEA even puts output as high as 3.25mn b/d in April – a post-sanctions monthly record. (CONTINUED - 1633 WORDS)