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Iran set to surprise West on oil exports

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An Iranian oil worker rides his bicycle at an oil refinery south of Tehran. ©AP

Iran sees its oil exports rising by 500,000 barrels per day by late November or early December much sooner than some in the West expect, a senior energy official says. 

Director of investment at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Ali Kardor said Iran also expects to add 1 million barrels a day to its current exports by the spring of 2016.

In August, Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh ordered directors of oilfield operating and terminals companies as well as NIOC international affairs to be prepared for raising production by 500,000 bpd.

Another official said at the time that a test operation of major oilfields for stepped-up recovery carried out last year would be repeated on all deposits.

“We are ready,” Kardor said, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, on the sidelines of the second Iran-Europe Forum which opened in Geneva Thursday and continues on Friday.

Iran, which currently exports about 1 million bpd to Asia as well as Turkey, plans to return to the pre-sanction sales levels in the shortest possible time when the restrictions are lifted.   

NIOC's Ali Kardor says Iran is ready to ramp up oil exports by 500,000 bpd. ©Shana

Kardor said more exports to Asian countries like China and South Korea will begin sooner than some in the West expect, adding the two countries have announced readiness to increase imports.

Earlier this week, Zangeneh said Iran’s oil production will reach 4.2 million barrels per day by the end of 2016.

Iran will ask other OPEC members to make room for the country’s return to normal production levels at the group’s next meeting in Vienna in December, Kardor said.

“Some countries should reduce their production. They should reach a compromise.” 

Record production by the US and Saudi Arabia has led to a glut in the market, pushing prices as low as $40 from last summer’s highs of above $100 per barrel. 

Kardor said the return of the Iranian oil at pre-sanction levels will not lead to a price crash, adding the market will absorb it at a rate of $3 to $4 drop in prices.

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