A US Energy Department official said on Sunday that excluding Iran from the global oil market would increase the shortfall between worldwide supply and demand based on September and October production and consumption estimates.
According to the department’s Energy Information Administration report released on Saturday, global fuel use averaged 2.4 million barrels a day more than output over the two months when Iran is excluded from the calculations, and 600,000 barrels less than production when Iran is included.
Obama administration is examining oil and fuel supplies and prices with and without Iran and trying to determine the feasibility of imposing sanctions related to Iranian oil trades through its central bank.
Saturday’s report was the fifth assessment issued under a 31 December law that requires the EIA to provide an update on oil market conditions every 60 days.
The report also showed that OPEC spare oil production capacity dropped 26% in September and October compared with same period a year earlier. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had an average 2 million barrels a day spare capacity during the two months, down from 2.7 million in 2011, it added.
The US and its allies insist Iran is trying to develop the capacity to produce atomic weapons while Tehran says its nuclear programme is for civilian use.
Restrictions on banking, shipping, insurance, ports, trade, commodities and energy transactions and ventures have severed or complicated Iran’s commercial ties to the outside world.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg News, Iran, the third-biggest oil producer in OPEC, pumped 2.85 million barrels of oil a day last month. August production dropped to 2.75 million barrels a day, the lowest level since February 1990.