15% Hike in Oil Exports

15% Hike in Oil Exports15% Hike in Oil Exports

Oil exports have increased 15% during the tenure of the incumbent Iranian government in the past two years, deputy oil minister for planning and supervision of hydrocarbon resources said.

"Iran was taking its hardest hit under western-imposed sanctions when President Hassan Rouhani took office in August 2013. However, crude exports have seen a 15% rise since then, up until the past few months," IRNA cited Mansour Moazzami as saying.

"Saudi Arabia, Iraq and other oil exporting states must respect Iran's position in the global oil market," he added.

Noting that Iran's oil has its regular customers, Moazzami singled out limitations caused by sanctions as the main reason behind the decline in oil exports.

The global oil benchmark, Brent Crude, stood at around $115 in June 2014, but prices went down to $70 per barrel last September when overproduction from the United States caused prices to dip. Prices continued to sink to $40-50 in early 2015 after OPEC member states, particularly the world's biggest crude exporter Saudi Arabia, decided to keep production unchanged in November 2014. Iran was OPEC’s second-biggest producer before US-led sanctions banned its customers from purchasing, transporting, financing and insuring its crude in mid-2012.

The official said centralizing exports at the National Iranian Oil Company has increased the rate while transparency in oil and condensate trade has rendered intermediaries inoperative.

Moazzami ruled out claims that oil production declined during the tenure of the current government and said, "The government's performance should be judged on the basis of limits on production and export. However, facts and figures indicate an increasing trend."

Iran plans to produce 3.8 million to 3.9 million barrels of oil a day by March, with output rising by 500,000 barrels a day soon after sanctions are lifted and by 1 million barrels within the following five months. An Oil Ministry official has declared that the Islamic Republic will reach the 500,000-bpd milestone by late November or early December even before most western sanctions are lifted.