Iranian oil exports hit six-year high amid US sanctions: report

Tehran sold an average of 1.56 million barrels per day during the first three months of the year, almost all to China and the highest level since the third quarter of 2018, according to data firm Vortexa.

Iran’s success in exporting its crude oil underlines the difficulties the US and EU face in their efforts to increase pressure on Tehran.

“The Iranians have mastered the art of sanctions circumvention,” said Fernando Ferreira, head of geopolitical risk at Rapidan Energy Group in the US.

In Tehran, Tasnim News Agency reported on Wednesday that the country’s oil industry had found ways to circumvent the sanctions.

Iranian Oil Minister Javad Oji said last month that oil exports had generated more than $35 billion last year. On another occasion, he said that although Iran’s enemies wanted to stop exports, “today we can export oil wherever we want, and with minimal discounts.”

Earlier this month, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Iran produced 3.25 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) in March 2024, up 20,000 bpd from the previous month.

According to the EIA report, Iranian oil production in February was 3.23 million barrels per day.

According to the report, Iran produced an average of 3.2 million barrels of oil per day in the first quarter of this year.

Iranian oil production increased by 50,000 barrels per day in the first quarter of this year compared to the fourth quarter of the previous year and by 630,000 barrels per day compared to the first quarter of 2023.

Iran produced 2.6 million barrels per day of oil in the first quarter of the previous year and 3.18 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter of the said year.

With an increase of 630,000 barrels of oil production in the past year, Iran had the highest production increase among OPEC members, according to EIA.

Gabon, Nigeria and Venezuela have been the only OPEC members to increase production in the past year. Gabon’s production increased by 10,000 barrels per day, Nigeria by 40,000 barrels per day and Venezuela by 90,000 barrels per day.

OPEC oil production was 27.380 million barrels per day in the first quarter of last year, which fell by 720,000 barrels to 26.660 million barrels in the first quarter of 2024.

Based on the EIA report, Iran maintained its position as the organization’s third-largest oil producer in March.