Iran oil exports hit record high despite US maximum pressure

Iran’s oil production and exports have increased significantly in recent months with the sales of petroleum products hitting record highs despite US sanctions.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh made the remarks during the opening ceremony of the 25th edition of Iran’s Oil Show on Friday.

“We set the highest record of exports of refined products in the history of the oil industry during the sanctions,” despite Washington’s policy of maximum pressure and numerous measures and efforts against the country since 2018, when former President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement.

“We will return to the market stronger than before, and faster than expected, if the sanctions are lifted,” the Iranian oil minister said. 

 “I am not worried about regaining Iran’s lost oil market share, and oil buyers do not limit themselves to one or two sellers,” Zanganeh added. 

Joe Biden’s administration has said the US will lift sanctions and return to the 2015 nuclear pact, if Tehran also agrees to scale back its nuclear work in accordance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 

Biden’s Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen said on Thursday that the US would only provide sanctions relief if Iran resumed its commitments under the nuclear deal.

Zanganeh said Trump and his team wanted our exports to reach zero, adding, “They wanted us to perish. Now they are in the dustbin of history, but we are alive and working with more hope to build the country.”

Zanganeh and other authorities have suggested that Iran would be able to swiftly increase its crude exports to levels above 3 million bpd if a future administration in the US decides to lift the oil sanctions. They say oil output in the country should reach a target of 8.5 million bpd in the upcoming years.

Earlier in January, the Iranian Oil Ministry signed $1.2 worth of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) contracts for a total of eight onshore and offshore projects with domestic companies to increase the amount of oil produced from the existing oilfields.  

According to Zanganeh, the deals would enable Iran to increase its crude output from the current oilfields by nearly 100,000 barrels per day (bpd), adding that less than a single year of additional output would mean a full return of investment for the eight EOR projects.

He said in December that the government sought to double oil production and increase exports to 2.3 million barrels a day.

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