This article was published by Radio Free Europe on June 13, 2022.
By Ardeshir Tayebi
Oil-tanker-tracking companies estimate that Iran’s oil and natural gas exports have halved due to competition with Russia in Asian markets, as most countries in the West shun Moscow over its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
The data company Kepler, which also provides tanker tracking services, told Radio Farda on June 13 that preliminary estimates showed that Iran’s crude oil and gas condensate loaded in May was about 400,000 barrels per day, compared with 820,000 barrels in April and 908,000 barrels in March.
Following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine in late February, Russian oil was hit with sanctions by Western countries.
To compensate for the drop in demand from traditional markets, Moscow has sought to increase exports to Asia by discounting its crude by about $30 per barrel in Asian markets, which is $10 per barrel more than Iran’s discount to its Asian customers, especially China, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Iranian oil exports have waned, with about 40 million barrels of Iranian oil — almost half the crude loaded by Iran in March and April — stranded on tankers waiting for customers.
A Kepler official told Radio Farda that about 40 million barrels of Iranian oil had been left without a buyer in Asian waters last month as well. Estimates also show that Iran’s oil load this month is half that seen in March and April.
The Kepler official added that Iran’s exports of oil products such as diesel, Mazut, and gasoline, have not changed from the beginning of January to May this year, and Iran has exported an average of about 420,000 barrels of oil derivatives per day.
The U.S.-based United Against Nuclear Iran nonprofit advocacy group recently reported that Iran’s total oil exports, including products, reached 933,000 barrels per day last month, down one-third from March.
According to the report, the volume of exports of oil derivatives in Iran remains stable, which means that Iran’s exports of crude oil and gas condensate in May halved compared to last March.
Last month, an average of 630,000 barrels of Iranian oil and its derivatives went to China, 111,000 barrels to Syria, less than 40,000 barrels to the United Arab Emirates, while the rest ended up at unknown destinations.