A general view of Abadan oil refinery in southwest Iran on September 21, 2019. REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani/File Photo/File Photo

Iran's oil exports have reached more than 1 million barrels per day, its highest amount since former US President Donald Trump in 2018 exited the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), estimates have shown. 

Iran PressIran News: Iranian oil exports have risen to more than 1 million barrels per day for the first time in almost three years, based on estimates from companies that track the flows, reflecting increased shipments to China.

Tehran's oil exports have been limited since former US President Donald Trump in 2018 exited a 2015 nuclear accord and reimposed its anti-Iran sanctions, Reuters reported.

Iran has kept some exports flowing despite sanctions as intermediaries find ways to disguise the origin of the imports. Tanker tracking companies say China is the destination of most of those shipments.

President Joe Biden's administration has discussed the imports with China but has not imposed sanctions on Chinese individuals and companies. Beijing has urged the United States to lift the sanctions on Iran, which China opposes.

Talks in Vienna to remove the US sanctions against Iran resumed on Tuesday. If the talks are successful, Iran could restart open oil sales. 

Iran managed to increase exports in 2021 despite the sanctions, according to estimates from oil industry consultants and analysts. Those exports remain well below the 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) shipped before the reimposition of sanctions.

Consulting firm Petro-Logistics, which tracks oil flows, said Iran's crude exports surged in December to more than 1 million bpd, the highest level in almost three years, although they fell back to about 700,000 bpd in January.

"We wouldn't expect to see 1 million bpd consistently until there is a change in the political landscape," said Petro-Logistics Chief Executive Daniel Gerber.

A senior trade source said January volumes dropped by about 300,000 bpd from December and added that the volumes fluctuate because there is a shortage of ships.

The increase in Iranian exports comes as tight global supply has helped to push oil prices to a seven-year high of $94 a barrel. A lifting of US sanctions would in theory allow Iran to start bringing crude exports back toward 2.5 million bpd, a rate last seen in 2018.


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