Iran has reported a major rise in exports of crude oil to France in January – an announcement that comes as the country is already expanding the list of its European oil clients.
Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum in a press release as reported by the domestic media announced that Iran’s oil exports to France over the past month had increased by 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) to reach 180,000 bpd. The figure showed an increase of 61 percent compared to December 2016.
The French energy giant Total handles the bulk of imports of crude oil from Iran. Last year, it sealed a deal with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to import at least 160,000 bpd of Iran’s oil.
Total was among the first European companies to sign an oil purchase deal with Iran after the removal of sanctions against the country early last year.
Several other European companies that also sealed post-sanctions deals to buy oil from Iran include Royal Dutch Shell (The Netherlands/Britain), Saras and Iplom (Italy), Repsol (Spain) and Hellenic Petroleum (Greece).
The statement by Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum further added that Iran’s exports of crude oil to Italy had seen a major drop of 130,000 bpd in January and reached 100,000 bpd. It put the blame for the plunge on the periodical overhaul operations in Italian refineries.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in a report last week said that Iran’s oil production had reached 3.77 million barrels per day (m/d) – most of which is exported.
On the same front, NIOC Managing Director Ali Kardor told reporters in Tehran that Iran’s oil exports are expected to reach as high as 2.3 m/d by the end of March.
On Friday, Reuters reported that Belarus’s Bel Oil was the latest European client that had joined the list of the European clients of Iran oil.
The company, Reuters added, had purchased 80,000 tons – equal to 600,000 barrels – of Iranian Light and Heavy crude oil from the NIOC for loading in February.