News ID: 302717
Published: 0313 GMT May 02, 2021

Crude market ready as Iran targets 2.5 mbd exports after US sanctions removal

Crude market ready as Iran targets 2.5 mbd exports after US sanctions removal

Iran expects to export as much as 2.5 million barrels per day (mbd) of crude after the removal of US sanctions amid rising optimism over on-going nuclear negotiations in Vienna.

"Oil sales have dropped much. But the conditions are better now and we are more in control of the situation," Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri was quoted as saying by Shana.

"We have the possibility to increase oil exports up to 2.5 million barrels of oil after removal of the sanctions."

The third round of talks between the remaining members of the nuclear deal – Iran, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – concluded on Saturday and are expected to resume at the end of this week. The 2015 agreement waived sanctions on Iran's oil sector in exchange for some modifications on its nuclear activities, wrote on Sunday.

Iranian exports have surged markedly since the November US presidential election of Joseph Biden, who made a campaign pledge to reverse course on US policy toward Tehran, marked by draconian sanctions under former president Donald Trump.

S&P Global Platts Analytics estimates Iran's crude and condensate exports averaged 825,000 bpd in Q1 2021, up from 420,000 bpd in Q3 2020.


Oil sanctions agreement

Positive steps on nuclear talks last week point to an accelerated timeline for sanctions relief, according to Platts Analytics.

"Our reference case forecast for a framework deal by the summer and full sanctions relief by Q4 2021 will likely be revised to end-May and end-September, respectively," Platts Analytics said in a recent note.

Talks between the US and Iran on sanctions relief could mean crude production will be 2.95 mbd by December 2021, according to Platts Analytics.

The US sanctions have severely confined Iran 's crude production, which averaged 2.3 mbd in March, according to the latest Platts survey of OPEC output. That is up from a 30-year low of 1.9 mbd last summer, but still far shy of the nearly four mbd it produced prior to the sanctions.

Iran's top negotiator for a nuclear deal indicated that there is a tacit agreement to lift all US sanctions, including oil. Tehran has insisted on the removal of all US sanctions before a deal is concluded.

"We insist that sanctions... on Iran's energy or the automotive industry, insurance and ports should be removed. And there is agreement on this part too," Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's envoy to the talks, sounded cautious optimism on the outcome of the Vienna talks in a Twitter post on Saturday.

"It's too early to be excited, but we have reasons for cautious and growing optimism," Ulyanov said on Twitter.

"There is no deadline, but participants aim at successful completion of the talks in approximately three weeks."

The fact that Iran has already cranked up not just its crude but also its oil product exports and not just to China but elsewhere indicates that the market is ready for the increment from Tehran and is priced in, Mike Muller, head of Vitol Asia said on Sunday.

"Of course there is a lot of spare capacity left in OPEC, but if managed prudently, I think there is space for oil from Iran to return because it won't come back in one big bang," Muller said. "Even if it was happening right now today, probably you won't see a huge amount of Iranian oil before the month of July because everyone has bought enough oil for June already."

I think the market is ready for it. I think the market is pricing it already to a certain extent, he added.

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