Oil Export at 2-Year High

Oil Export at 2-Year HighOil Export at 2-Year High

Iran's oil exports look set to rise by more than a fifth in January and February from last year's daily average, data from a source with knowledge of its loading schedules shows, revealing how Tehran is ramping up sales after the lifting of sanctions.

The Islamic Republic's overall exports will total around 1.44 million barrels a day in February and about 1.5 million bpd in January, according to the data on Iran's preliminary tanker loading schedules.

Those shipping levels would be more than 20% higher than Iran's average daily exports last year, with the loadings this month at the highest since February 2014, Reuters reported.

The data is the first sign of a resurgence in crude shipments, as the OPEC producer begins to raise output and clears out oil that has built up in offshore storage over the past four years of curtailed participation in world markets.

The market is closely watching the pace of Iran's return to the market after sanctions were removed earlier this month, given a global glut in supplies that has pulled prices down 70% since mid-2014.

Much of the nearly 40 million barrels of oil stored by Iran in domestic tankers is condensate—an ultra light grade of crude—shipping sources have said, and the faster the light crude is moved out the quicker the ships can be used for more oil deliveries.

Iran's shipments have surged nearly a quarter over the last four weeks from average tanker loadings of 1.21 million bpd last year following the lifting of sanctions earlier this month, according to the source's data.

An Iranian source has said the country is targeting India, Asia's fastest-growing oil market, as its main destination for oil, which was backed by the shipping schedules. India will load more than 300,000 bpd in February, up from 183,000 bpd in January, according to the data.

Exports to Asia in February are set to total 1.20 million bpd, which is near an expected nine-month high of 1.24 million bpd for January.

Iran plans to load 504,000 bpd for top customer China in February, down 5% from a six-month high expected in January, according to the source.

Iran is planning to load 303,000 bpd next month for India, up 66% from the month before and highest since May 2015, sources said.

Shipments to Japan and South Korea are expected to be lower in February after hitting multi-month highs in January.