Iran’s oil exports have risen to 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time since 2012, Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Rokneddin Javadi says.
“The rising trend of crude oil exports will continue” in the next Iranian year which begins on March 20, during which total production will rise to 4 million bpd, the Shana news agency quoted him as saying in Tehran.
“To materialize future objectives of the National Iranian Oil Company in the oil sector, 2 billion barrels of oil must be produced a year,” he said.
Since the lifting of sanctions in January, Iran has been working to raise production by 1 million bpd on top of another million barrels which the country has already been producing.
As many as 29 vessels reportedly loaded crude from the country last month.
On Sunday, President Hassan Rouhani predicted Iran’s oil exports to hit 2 million bpd before the middle of the next Iranian year, roughly falling around the month of August.
Rouhani also said the country had added 400,000 bpd to its production since January. Javadi’s figure, as cited by the Ministry of Petroleum’s news agency, was twice that and it was not immediately clear how to reconcile them.
Iran’s oil industry is buoyed by Europe’s resumption of imports. France’s Total, Spain’s Cepsa and Russia’s Litasco have bought 4 million barrels since January.
Other major buyers such as Anglo-Dutch major Shell, Italy’s Eni, Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum and trading houses Vitol, Glencore and Trafigura are yet to resume purchases.
On Sunday, Europe got its first cargo of Iranian oil since mid-2012. The Monte Toledo oil tanker covered the voyage from Iran to Europe with a haul of one million barrels of crude in just 17 days.
The tanker discharged its cargo into a refinery owned by the CEPSA oil company near the Spanish port of Algeciras.
Three other tankers carrying Iranian crude are heading toward Europe.
The Eurohope tanker is sailing to the Romanian port of Constanta, and the Distya Akula is on the way to a Mediterranean port.
The Atlantas is heading to France. Total is expecting to receive the tanker later this month in its refinery in Le Havre. The French oil and gas major plans to purchase up to 200,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude under an agreement signed in January.
Europe imported about 400,000 barrels a day of oil from Iran before sanctions were imposed on the country in 2012, according to the International Energy Agency.