Iran's oil exports harder to track as sanctions loom

TEHRAN, Oct. 31 (MNA) – According to Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, no one has any idea how much oil Iran will be able to export after new US sanctions against the Islamic Republic to kick off on Nov. 4.

But more precisely, Iran’s shipment figures - crucial to oil markets - are already a mystery, Reuters news agency reported.

Iran’s oil exports are becoming harder to measure as ships switch off tracking systems, oil industry sources say, adding uncertainty over how far US sanctions are scaring off buyers. The prospect of more oil heading into storage could make number-crunching even tougher.

Amid pressure from US President Donald Trump to cool the price of oil, the lack of export clarity adds to the challenge for other OPEC members, chiefly top crude supplier Saudi Arabia, to make up for falling Iranian shipments.

Iran is the third-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and estimates of its crude exports in October vary by more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd). That amount is enough to cover the oil demand of Turkey and move prices in the 100-million-bpd world market.

While the Saudi minister may have been referring to what happens after sanctions kick in, the range of estimates of how much Iran is exporting now is already widening.

“A large set of numbers estimating Iranian October first-half exports have been thrown to the market these last few days, ranging from 1 million bpd to 2.2 million bpd, which is a massive spread,” Kpler, a data intelligence company, said.

According to Refinitiv Eikon data, Iran exported 1.55 million bpd in the first three weeks of October, higher than the 1.33 million bpd seen in the first two weeks of the month.

Kpler put Iranian exports at 1.85 million bpd in the first 24 days of October.

An industry source who also tracks the exports estimated a similar volume of 1.8 million bpd in the first half of October, including vessels not showing on satellite tracking. A second source initially agreed and later trimmed his figure to 1.65 million bpd through Oct. 22.


News Code 139201


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