Iran’s first vice president says the country’s oil exports will reach 1.5 million barrels per day (mb/d) next month as Tehran moves to benefit from sanctions relief.
“Today, our oil exports have reached 1.3 mb/d, which will reach 1.5 mb/d by” March, Es’haq Jahangiri said on Saturday.
He added that Iran will be exporting 2 mb/d of oil in the next calendar year starting on March 21.
“Oil exports enhancement was among opportunities created by the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action)…Iran has to preserve its share in the global oil market,” added Jahangiri.
JCPOA refers to Iran’s landmark nuclear accord with six world powers that took effect in January, paving the way for the lifting of sanctions slapped on Iran.
Sanctions against Iran were imposed by the US and European Union at the beginning of 2012, alleging that there was diversion in Iran’s nuclear program toward military objectives; an allegation that Iran categorically rejected.
There has been speculation that Iran’s move to raise oil exports would cut already low oil prices. But Iran is determined to regain its oil market share lost due to the international sanctions.
Oil markets remain oversupplied, a situation which has been fueled by OPEC’s refusal to cut output in order to squeeze out high-cost US shale producers.
OPEC left its output ceiling unchanged, in both June and December last year, at 30 mb/d with its estimated actual output standing at 32 mb/d.
Because of overproduction chiefly by Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC producers, there is currently up to 2.5 mb/d of excess oil in the market which has caused crude prices to lose around 60% of their value since mid-2014.