EghtesadOnline: The easing of international restrictions against Tehran in early 2016 breathed new life in the economy and allowed the country to augment the shipment of crude oil, its most important export commodity.
Iran's crude exports rose by more than 350 million barrels, or some 958,000 barrels daily, in the calendar year 2016-17 (ended March 20) from the previous fiscal, according to Gholamhossein Gerami (IOTC), deputy director of Iranian Oil Terminals Company, IRNA reported on Monday.
"Total outbound oil shipments reached 784 million barrels in the last fiscal year, up from about 432 million barrels the year before. The rise stems from improvement in marketing and shipment conditions after the enforcement of the nuclear deal," the official said.
Oil exports averaged 2.1 million barrels per day in the previous fiscal, according to Gerami's data. Iran used to export barely 1 million bpd when US and EU restrictions were in place from 2012 to 2015, according to Financial Tribune.
The government says it now exports 2.6 million barrels of crude oil daily, with some 700,000 barrels sent to buyers in Europe.
Calculations by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' secondary sources show that in 2016, Iran pumped 3.5 million barrels a day, or a total of 1.28 billion barrel of crude. The country is the third-largest OPEC producer behind world's top exporter Saudi Arabia and its western Arab neighbor Iraq.
Iran and six world powers (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) struck a landmark deal in July 2015 to scale back economic curbs against Tehran that had shut it out of the global banking and financial system and hurt its oil sales.
--- Tanker Traffic
According to Gerami, tanker movements in the Kharg Oil Terminal, Iran's largest oil export facility in the Persian Gulf, picked up by almost 35% year on year.
In fiscal 2016-17, a total of 830 tankers of different nationalities and sizes lifted crude from the Kharg terminal, up from 541 tankers in the previous fiscal.
The IOTC deputy chief also gave a breakdown on sales of Iranian crude oil grades.
"More than 480 million barrels of heavy crude and 230 million barrels of light crude were exported from the Kharg terminal in the past year," he noted.
Kharg Oil Terminal has 48 oil tanks with a total storage capacity of 28 million barrels.
Iran Heavy, the country's main export grade, traded at $53.10 in the week to April 14 and its light crude was priced $52.42 a barrel in the week, according to the Oil Ministry.
Gerami asserted that Iran could post higher oil export numbers had it not been for poor weather conditions in the Persian Gulf. "We had 128 days of bad weather in the previous fiscal which sporadically led to the port's closure."
International majors including France's Total, Italy's Eni, Royal Dutch Shell and Greek refiner Hellenic Petroleum have been among the customers for Iranian crude since the easing of sanctions in January of last year.