Sanctions choke Iran’s crude sales, but oil product exports booming

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LONDON (Reuters) – While U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil industry have slashed the OPEC member’s crude exports by more than 80%, oil product sales from the Islamic Republic remain strong at nearly $500 million a month, shipping data and Reuters calculations show.

Sanctions have barely affected Iran’s exports of oil products, primarily fuel oil used for power generation and shipping, as well as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), used as cooking gas and petrochemical feed.

Iran’s product exports reached their highest level in August, oil minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying by a lawmaker after a parliamentary meeting on Aug. 27. “In exports of products we have no problem,” Zanganeh was cited as saying.

Consultancy FGE estimates Iran’s product exports at 400,000-500,000 barrels per day, exceeding the top end of crude export estimates by other analysts of some 400,000 bpd for July.

Refinitiv Eikon data shows Iran exported more than 230,000 bpd of fuel oil in August, all to the United Arab Emirates, slightly above July’s figure of 220,000 bpd. At current prices, and assuming Iran is not selling at a big discount, such sales generate over $300 million a month.