Condensate Exports at 2015 High

Condensate Exports at 2015 HighCondensate Exports at 2015 High

Iran's condensate exports in September reached the highest monthly total so far this year, after its top client China resumed buying the ultra-light crude for the first time in six months, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The sales come as Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations this week that he wanted to prioritize energy and financial cooperation with Tehran ahead of a potential lifting of sanctions, Trade Arabia reported.

"Unlike crude oil that could be cut back, Iran has had to keep South Pars pumping to supply its local gas market," said one of the sources with direct knowledge of supplies to China.

The source said China's Unipec, the trading arm of Asia's largest refiner, Sinopec, imported about 1 million barrels of Iranian condensate in September, with the same monthly amount due to be shipped through to March.

Iranian condensate exports in September were around 210,000 barrels per day, topping 200,000 bpd for the first time this year after China resumed imports, a second source with knowledge of the data said. Condensate is a byproduct of natural gas production.

Other buyers included Japan, South Korea, the UAE and Poland, said the source.

Iran has the capacity to export about 500,000 bpd of condensate, but buyers took about 180,000 bpd on average in the first nine months of this year, according to the sources.

Sanctions on Iranian oil exports are expected to ease early next year as Tehran reached a historic agreement with six world powers in July on its nuclear program, but the fight for market share in Asia among OPEC producers has already intensified.