During the previous round of sanctions, Iran disabled tracking on its tankers, resulting in millions of barrels of oil exports that were unaccounted for, according to Bloomberg and analysts.
During this next round of sanctions, nearly 200,000 bpd of Iran’s oil exports could be undisclosed, Robin Mills, CEO at consultancy Qamar Energy in Dubai, told Bloomberg. While this volume will not have a significant impact on the global oil market, it could be helpful to Iran in offsetting some of the sting from the U.S. sanctions that kick in in early November, according to the expert.
Smaller Chinese refiners could take some of the undisclosed oil shipments, Iman Nasseri, Managing Director Middle East at FGE London, told Bloomberg, adding that China, India, and Turkey are likely to continue buying Iranian oil after November 4.
According to Nasseri, Iran may export around 800,000 bpd of its oil well into 2019.
Last month, all signs pointed to significantly reduced Iranian oil exports compared to previous months. Between August 1 and 16, Iran’s oil exports plunged by 600,000 bpd compared to July loadings, Platts preliminary tanker tracking data showed.
Crude oil and condensate exports were set to drop to a total of 64 million barrels in August, or 2.06 million bpd. It would be the first time that monthly crude and ultra-light oil shipments out of Iran fell below 70 million barrels since April 2017, according to preliminary trade flows data by Thomson Reuters Eikon.
Ship tracking data crunched by Bloomberg confirmed Reuters’ data that Iranian oil and condensate exports were below 2.1 million bpd in August—the lowest levels since March 2016, with crude oil exports at their lowest since January this year.