Iran yet again bypasses US/EU oil sanctions by using private companies

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sadra oil tanker
The Aframax-category tanker is capable of carrying 113,000 tons of oil – equivalent of 75,000 barrels – was built in two years by the Iranian Marine Industrial Company (SADRA). Photo – Saber Zamani/Mehr

An Iranian energy official said the country successfully delivered its first shipment of crude oil to foreign buyers from the private sector despite Western sanctions.

The semiofficial Mehr News Agency quoted Hassan Khosrojerdi, chairman of a union of Iranian oil exports, as saying that private companies delivered oil to the foreign market for the first time on Sunday. He disclosed that an agreement with unspecified entities allows private companies to export about 20% of the country’s total oil deliveries designated for the international market.

“This equates to around 400,000 to 500,000 barrels of oil per day,” he said.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said in its August report that average overall member state production was at 31.2 million barrels of oil per day, down 160,000 bpd in part on decreases from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Angola.

Sanctions pressure from the United States and Europe have affected Iran’s crude oil consumer base. Domestic oil demand in Iran, however, increased in May 7.9%, said OPEC, in large part because of an increase in gasoline consumption.

Iranian oil exports dropped 66% in July from a year earlier, to less than 1 million barrels a day, according to a report by Rhodium Group, citing customs data. The company estimated exports at about 940,000 barrels a day, compared with 1.7 million barrels a day in June and 2.8 million in July 2011, the New York-based economic research group said 5 September in an e-mailed report.

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