Mubasher: Iran is expected to see its oil shipments sharply subdued for the third straight month in January, as the nation struggles to find new buyers despite sanctions waivers by the US.
Iran’s oil exports remained less than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) last December, while they are unlikely to surpass that level in January despite a month-on-month rise, Thomson Reuters said, citing sources at three companies which monitor Iranian shipments.
“In January, I expect a slight uptick in the second half of the month with some Asian lifting resuming,” one of the sources said, “penciling in around 900,000 bpd for January” in the meantime.
“We are forecasting slightly more than December, but not massive,” another source said, expecting the month-on-month rise to come in at less than 50,000 bpd.
The oil-rich nation’s exports in November plunged to less than 1 million bpd from regular sales of 2.5 million bpd last April as US sanctions took effect.
The US granted a set of waivers to eight Iranian oil importers, including India, China, Japan and South Korea, to circumvent a surge in crude prices, yet the move failed to give a significant support to exports.
Buyers pointed to the uncertainty over crude volumes they are allowed to purchase under the new US sanctions, which caused a drop in Iranian crude shipments.
Taiwan, a traditional customer, said last year it would not purchase Iranian crude, despite receiving a waiver, because of a lack of a clear payment mechanism.
By 2:05 pm GMT, US Nymex crude futures fell 1.33% to 51.89 per barrel (pb), while international benchmark Brent futures dropped 1.56% to $60.72 pb.