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Platts: Tehran Taking Oil Market Share From Rivals
Platts: Tehran Taking Oil Market Share From Rivals

Platts: Tehran Taking Oil Market Share From Rivals

Platts: Tehran Taking Oil Market Share From Rivals

Iran's crude oil and condensate exports rose 3% month on month in January as it continued to regain market share, widening its appeal among refiners around the globe in the process.

Total estimated export volume on Aframaxes, Suezmaxes and very large crude carriers (VLCCs) from Iranian ports in January climbed to 2.162 million barrels per day from 2.102 million bpd in December, data from S&P Global Platts,  a provider of energy and commodities information, showed on Thursday.

Iran was the only Middle Eastern producer to see exports rise in January, as others, like Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, saw a fall in loadings, in line with agreed OPEC-led output cuts by crude producers. Unlike its peers under the landmark OPEC-led agreement, Iran has room to boost production to 3.8 million bpd.

Iranian crude is similar in quality to barrels from other OPEC countries in its region, meaning this is an ideal time for it to broaden its customer base, sources said. 

Output in January rose to 3.72 million bpd, up 30,000 bpd from December, a monthly survey of OPEC output by Platts found, meaning Iran seems intent on reclaiming ground lost under years of sanctions that undermined its oil sector.

Exports to Asia accounted for 61%, or 1.323 million bpd, of outflows, marking an increase of almost 200,000 bpd from December. India emerged as the largest buyer of Iranian crude, with exports in January totaling 571,387 bpd, more than double the 281,065 bpd in December.

The bulk of the exports went to Essar Oil's Vadinar refinery on the west coast of India, the second-largest privately held refinery in India.

Exports to China in January fell to 369,484 bpd from 413,710 bpd the previous month. China was the largest buyer of Iranian crude in 2016, averaging more than 600,000 bpd, according to estimates by Platts.

Japan, a major buyer of Iranian condensate, saw its interest fall month on month to 212,161 bpd in January, down 35,678 bpd. But flows to South Korea rose to 170,839 bpd from 119,774 bpd in December. South Korean imports of Iranian oil jumped sharply last year, up 164% to 112 million barrels, according to Korea National Oil Corp. data.

In Europe, Turkey and France were the major destinations, with 209,774 bpd and 170,419 bpd, respectively, exported from Iran in January. Demand from Greece, Italy and Spain fell month on month but traders have said European refiners remained interested in Iranian crude due to its competitive pricing. 

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