EghtesadOnline: Iran is exporting more oil even as sanctions remain in place, as it looks ahead to a full return to the global oil market as demand recovers from the pandemic.
Preliminary estimates suggest that Iran may have shipped somewhere between 800,000 barrels per day to 1 million bpd of crude and condensates last month, largely to China, newswires reported.
That is a sharp rise from last year when the US economic blockade pushed volumes as low as 500,000 bpd in some months, according to industry and shipping sources.
But the path to a truce that would fully unlock Iran's approximately 2.6 million bpd export capacity remains complicated.
Iran needs to return to its nuclear material stockpiles back to levels specified in the deal before talks take place, US President Joe Biden has claimed. Tehran insists Washington should first show good faith by ending the stringent sanctions reimposed by Donald Trump, the beleaguered former US president, who withdrew from the landmark nuclear agreement in mid-2018.
Iranian crude production has climbed steadily since the US election in November. In January, Iran pumped 2.14 million bpd of crude, its highest since November 2019.
The government recently ordered its domestic oil operators to ramp up operations, largely from the South Azadegan and West Karun fields. Pre-sanctions crude production capacity was about 4 million bpd.
Platts Analytics said the US and Iran could reach a framework agreement to restore the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action deal, as early as the next 1-3 months, with Iranian crude supply to grow by 1 million bpd until December.