The U.S. sanctions on the Iranian oil industry have cut a lot of the crude oil exports of the Islamic Republic, but oil product exports—also under U.S. sanctions—have held pace even after the sanctions kicked in, Reuters reported, citing shipping data and its own calculations.
Sanctions have crippled Iran’s crude oil exports by some 80 percent, according to Reuters estimates. Yet, Iranian exports of oil products such as fuel oil and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) have remained stable in recent months, the data showed. Total LPG and fuel oil exports from Iran are estimated to be worth almost US $500 million per month, assuming that Iran doesn’t offer its oil products at a hefty discount.
Iran’s LPG exports were almost 200,000 bpd in July, worth more than US $180 million, Reuters cited Kpler data. China was the main recipient of Iranian LPG in June, taking more than 95 percent of all LPG exports of Iran, according to Kpler. For fuel oil, data from Refinitiv Eikon showed that Iran’s fuel oil exports inched up to 230,000 bpd in August from 220,000 bpd in July. All Iranian fuel oil exports last month went to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Reuters quoted Refinitiv Eikon data as saying. Iran’s fuel oil exports are estimated to be worth more than US $300 million every month.
Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States had managed to take most of Iranian crude oil off the market:
“We have managed to take almost 2.7 million barrels of crude oil off of the market, denying Iran the wealth to create their terror campaign around the world, and we have managed to keep the oil markets fully supplied,” Secretary Pompeo said.
In addition, France has proposed to extend to Iran a credit line of US$15 billion for oil “pre-purchases” in exchange for full compliance with the nuclear deal, parts of which Iran has said it had started to breach, Iranian semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Monday, citing conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari. According to Motahari, the plan was negotiated during phone discussions between France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and a recent meeting between Macron and Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif.
France has proposed to transfer the money of the US$15-billion credit line in three separate installments if Iran returns to full compliance with the nuclear deal and withdraws threats from previous months that it would ramp up its nuclear activities, according to Motahari, Bloomberg reports.
On Monday, Iran’s Zarif said that his country would breach more parts of its commitment under the nuclear deal if Europe fails to protect Iran from the U.S. sanctions.
“It is meaningless to continue unilateral commitments to the deal if we don’t enjoy its benefits as promised by the deal’s European parties,” Reuters quoted Zarif as saying in Moscow.
Iran has offered the European Union two options to keep the nuclear deal alive as the EU keeps failing to find a way to support the Iranian economy amid U.S. sanctions, Bloomberg reported last week. The options include either asking the United States to reinstate sanction waivers for the countries that import Iranian crude oil, or providing a credit line to Tehran.