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Iranian Oil Exports Decline As Sanctions Talk Intensifies

Iranian oil exports have declined for the second consecutive month in October, with the country loading 1.43 million barrels per day of crude and condensate, Bloomberg reports, citing TankerTrackers.com data. The volume loaded for export in October was 194,000 bpd lower than September and reportedly the lowest export-loading volume since July. 

Accurately tracking Iran’s crude exports is rendered difficult due to attempts to stymie ship transponders, forcing TankerTankers to rely on satellite imagery to fill in the gaps. 

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would expand sanctions on entities helping facilitate Iran’s sanctions busting. The SHIP bill (Stop Harboring Iranian Petroleum) would sanction foreign ports and refineries processing Iranian petroleum illicitly exported. The bill requires passage by the Senate and presidential signing to become law. Talk of more sanctions against Iran has surfaced in the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, despite Tehran’s denials that it was involved in any way in the event, which has since led to a highly aggressive Israeli response in Gaza. Israel has likewise said there was no evidence of Iran’s involvement in the planning of that attack. U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham has called for the bombing of Iranian refineries in response to the Hamas-Israel conflict, while presidential hopeful Nikki Haley has called for an escalation of the conflict with Iran. Any such actions would send oil prices soaring, and are largely believed to be campaign stunts. 

The Biden administration’s move earlier this year to release $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets in a prisoner swap deal has come under increasing scrutiny since the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel conflict. 

While the likelihood of more sanctions rises, the market has refrained from panic due to OPEC+ output cuts that put global spare production capacity at around 5 million barrels. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on November 06 2023 said:
    If the harshest US sanctions have failed miserably to cripple Iran’s oil industry or kill its oil exports, does anyone think that more sanctions will fare better?

    Since the reintroduction of the sanctions in 2016, Iran has been successfully evading sanctions and exporting an estimated 1.5 million barrels a day (mbd) or 71% of its pre-sanction level. Therefore, I very much doubt that the intensification of talk about new sanctions would have caused a decline of Iranian exports in October.

    The strange thing is that talk of more sanctions against Iran has surfaced in the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel despite Tehran’s denials that it was involved in any way in the event. Even Israel itself has said there was no evidence of Iran’s involvement in the planning of that attack. In other words, the United States is acting as judge and jury.

    That is why the majority of countries of the world are supporting a new World Order to replace the one led by the United States and going for de-dollarization as a way of clipping the wings of the United States.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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