Energy, Economy

Europe Receiving 40% of Iran's Crude Oil Shipments

Iran is in talks with new European customers as it looks to assert its footprint in western energy markets
Europe Receiving 40% of Iran's Crude Oil Shipments
Europe Receiving 40% of Iran's Crude Oil Shipments

Asian markets continue to remain the largest recipient of Iranian crude, as European customers account for around 40% of Iranian oil exports.

Iran shipped 60% of its crude exports to refineries in Asia in November, Shana, the official portal of Oil Ministry, reported on Sunday.

China was the biggest customer of Iran's crude oil last month, taking in around 600,000 barrels a day, the report said.

South Korea was also the main buyer of Iran's condensate. Asia's fourth-largest economy, which relies on imports for nearly all of its fossil fuel consumption, purchased over 400,000 barrels of condensate per day from Iran in November.

Condensate is an ultra light grade of oil extracted from South Pars, the world's largest gas field shared between Iran and Qatar in the Persian Gulf. Iran ships out nearly its entire condensate output.

Until two years ago, Iran was shut out of the European energy market and its oil trade was limited to a handful of Asian buyers that took in just around 1 million barrels a day under temporary waivers.

But the lifting of sanctions in January 2016 helped Iran actively resume oil sales to major customers in Europe, including Italy's Saras and Eni, Greek refiner Hellenic Petroleum, Madrid-based Repsol, Royal Dutch Shell and French energy giant Total that holds a stake in an offshore Iranian gas venture.

Iran's crude oil and condensate exports have surpassed 2.5 million barrels a day, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told reporters on the sidelines of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, last week.

The country is pumping around 3.8 million bpd, according to government figures and data provided by OPEC's secondary sources monitoring the production of the group's member states.

According to Iran's first deputy oil minister, Marzieh Shahdaei, Iran is in active negotiations with new European customers as the country looks to assert its footprint in western energy markets.

"As negotiations with European countries bear fruit, the share of Europeans from Iran's oil exports will rise," she said last month.

Hellenic Petroleum became the first buyer of Iranian oil after the nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers came into effect in January. Big names also quickly moved to secure Iranian barrels.

In February last year, three international vessels loaded 4 million barrels of crude for destinations in Europe in what was the first major shipment of Iranian oil to European buyers after the tightening of sanctions in 2012. The shipments were ordered by Total, Spanish refiner Cepsa and Russia’s Lukoil.

According to Shana, Europeans on average shipped in 720,000 bpd of oil from Iran in the first seven months of this year.


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