Despite waivers the US government granted to eight countries after imposing sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, the country’s crude sales will fluctuate between 1.1and 1.3 million barrels per day for the rest of the year, president of SVB Energy International in Washington, DC said.
Exports may witness a small increase of 100,000-200,000 bpd from January, mostly going to Japan and South Korea," Sara Vakhshouri, a former expert working for the National Iranian Oil Company said, Afkar News reported.
The analyst who is often by news outlets such as Reuters, Bloomberg, BBC and Platts Energy TV, Iranian tankers are shipping crude to Asia and as such not much capacity is left for deliveries to the European Union states including Italy and Greece.
Unlike other traders and analysts who assert the waivers could increase Iran’s oil exports, Vakhshouri is of the opinion that that would be improbable due to lack of Iranian shipping capacity.
Tehran says its November oil sales were close to 1.1 million bpd, down from 1.7 million bpd in previous months.
The eight countries that have been granted waivers are China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Greece, and Italy.
“The only game changer would be the China-US tariff talks. Should China decide to increase its imports to the normal 550,000-650,000 bpd, Iran's oil sales could reach 1.4 million bpd,” she said.
China and the US have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods. The US has hit $250 billion of Chinese goods with tariffs since July, and China has retaliated by imposing duties on $110 billion of US products.
According to BBC, China-US ongoing tariff talks continued on Saturday when Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Reportedly, the US administration has agreed to cancel a planned Jan. 1 tariff increase on Chinese products in return for purchases of substantial amount of American farm, energy and industrial goods.
In early November the Trump administration imposed tough new sanctions on Iran. In May Donald Trump abandoned the international Iran nuclear deal that had eased sanctions against Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
The sanctions are unilateral, but Washington has warned other countries to buy less oil from Iran or face American penalties.
According to SVB survey, China's oil import from Iran peaked in the January-April period to 664,000 bpd and the world’s second largest economy is allowed to buy a maximum of 350,000 bpd from December till June 2019 when waivers are expected to be renewed.
India will continue importing 280,000-300,000 bpd of Iranian oil, Vakhshouri said, adding that she expects Turkey too will continue buying up to a maximum of 150,000 bpd.
Iranian condensate production will not be affected with most exports (about 180,000 bpd) going to South Korea, she said.
Japan's share of Iran oil exports, which stood at 314,000 bpd in 2011, will decline to as low as 130,000 bpd.
Italy whose export amounted to 250,000 bpd in 2016 will have to cut its purchases by half.
Reportedly, Taiwan will not import Iranian crude due to banking restrictions.
SVB is based in Washington DC since 2009 where it has advised numerous energy and policy leaders, international corporations, think tanks, investment banks, and law firms on the global energy market, the geopolitics of energy and investment patterns.