Iran Seemingly Grew Oil Exports by 35% in 2022, Knowledge Firm Says 

January 19, 2023

London-based commodity markets knowledge firm Kpler tells VOA it believes Iran recorded a giant enhance in vitality exports final yr, whilst america continued its coverage of demanding a worldwide ban on Iranian oil gross sales.

In a cellphone interview from Paris on Wednesday, Kpler senior oil analyst Homayoun Falakshahi mentioned the corporate estimates that Iran’s common each day exports of crude oil and fuel condensate grew from 668,000 barrels per day in 2021 to 900,000 barrels per day final yr. That will signify a bounce of 35% for 2022.

He mentioned Kpler makes use of quite a lot of sources to calculate these estimates, resembling location knowledge from oil tankers’ Automated Identification System transponders, satellite tv for pc imagery, and knowledge supplied by personnel at ports.

Iran doesn’t publish official knowledge on its vitality exports as a part of its efforts to avoid U.S. sanctions that President Joe Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, unilaterally imposed on Iranian international oil gross sales in 2018 and later toughened.

In November, Iranian state-approved information website Kayhan quoted Iran’s oil minister, Javad Owji, as saying Tehran had managed to spice up its exports of crude oil, fuel condensate and petrochemical merchandise to the very best stage because the March 2018-March 2019 Persian yr. No figures had been cited.

Falakshahi additionally mentioned the components behind Iran’s obvious robust vitality gross sales development in an earlier cellphone interview recorded January 11 for VOA’s Flashpoint Iran podcast. The next transcript has been edited for size and readability:

VOA: What do you assume is behind such a giant bounce in Iran’s exports of crude oil and fuel condensate?

Homayoun Falakshahi, senior oil analyst, Kpler: I believe it is a mixture of issues. Initially, because the finish of 2020, we have had a rebound, usually talking, within the oil market. And so provide and demand continued to develop in 2022, at round a bit lower than 2 million barrels per day. So the market obtained larger, and clearly there was a much bigger share for Iran as nicely.

But in addition, wanting on the [export] strategies which are getting used, it is the truth that, usually talking, Iran is feeling a bit extra assured in how a lot oil it could possibly ship.

And we went by means of a giant disaster with vitality costs all through 2022, particularly within the first half of the yr. And that meant that the U.S., to an extent, couldn’t afford to tighten the screws on how a lot Iran was delivery to China, as a result of if the U.S. did that, it might have meant much less oil out there and that might have pushed costs a bit increased too.

VOA: You talked about that Iran seemed to be feeling extra assured when it comes to exporting its oil final yr. What do you assume is behind that larger confidence?

Falakshahi: I believe to an extent they needed to combat for market share greater than they’d, in comparison with the earlier years. And it is a geopolitical problem as nicely.

We’re seeing much more Russian oil in Asia. At first of the Russia-Ukraine warfare, we had seen a giant enhance in Russian exports to Asia, principally to India, but in addition to China.

On the identical time, round April to Might 2022, simply after the warfare began, we noticed round a halving of exports from Iran to China. Which means the Nationwide Iranian Oil Firm (NIOC) needed to combat with a view to get again its market share. We consider that they provided bigger reductions to Chinese language consumers with a view to try this.

Within the second half of 2022, we noticed a significant enhance in oil moving into China. For instance, in December, arrivals [of oil shipments] into China got here near an all-time excessive—the second highest ever on a month-to-month foundation. China is the primary purchaser of Iranian oil. So, if China buys extra oil, which means extra oil from Iran as nicely.

VOA: You talked about Iran having to interact in a little bit of a value warfare final yr to maintain up its exports to main clients like China. How does that value warfare conduct have an effect on the sum of money that Iran will get from its oil exports?

Falakshahi: Effectively, if you happen to assume that the volumes keep the identical, then clearly it’s affected in a destructive means. However revenues are a operate of volumes and costs. So, if you happen to scale back your pricing by, for instance, 10%, and however, you enhance your volumes by simply as a lot, then there isn’t any destructive influence on income.

So given the truth that the Iranians elevated their exports by about 30% year-on-year in 2022 in comparison with 2021, and given the truth that costs, globally talking, have been increased in 2022 in comparison with 2021, we consider that — even supposing they needed to supply giant reductions particularly since Might 2022 — they in all probability had a rise in revenues year-on-year in comparison with 2021.

VOA: Do you’ve gotten any concept how a lot income Iran really created from its vitality exports final yr, or is that unclear based mostly on what the Iranians themselves are saying and what you’re seeing from your individual analysis?

Falakshahi: That’s one thing that is extraordinarily tough to evaluate as a result of it isn’t precisely clear how a lot the Iranians are getting paid.

Clearly, the pricing just isn’t clear. But in addition, the quantity of precise commerce occurring, or whether or not they’re capable of carry again the revenues from this commerce into the nation, is completely unclear.

We all know for a proven fact that even earlier than the U.S. exited the Iranian nuclear deal in 2018, at a time when secondary U.S. sanctions had been lifted, it was already tough again then for NIOC to get entry to revenues from its oil exports.

So, there is a massive thriller concerning the pricing, and a giant thriller about how a lot of that income they’re capable of carry again.

However if you happen to have a look at the quantity of Iranian exports [last year], and also you assume a mean oil value of $65 to $70 per barrel, and also you take into consideration the low cost that they’ve to present [to customers], you must get someplace between $20 and $25 billion [in revenue for 2022].

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