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Iran to return to pre-sanctions crude output until March: NIOC chief

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)
NIOC chief Khojasteh Mehr says Iran’s crude output will reach nearly 4 million bpd until March.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) will soon restore its crude output capacity back to levels seen before Iran came under US sanctions in 2018, says NIOC’s CEO Mohsen Khojasteh Mehr.

“We are working to bring oil output capacity to pre-sanctions (level) of 4 million barrels (per day) until the end of the year (in late March),” said Khojasteh Mehr on Saturday, adding that the NIOC had secured the funds needed to meet the target. 

The comments come amid reports suggesting Iran has managed to increase both production and exports of crude oil in recent months despite sanctions imposed by the US.

Private Chinese buyers have been responsible for more than 0.5 million bpd of oil purchases from Iran in recent months, according to business sources.

Iran had a crude output of over 3.8 million bpd just before the sanctions hit sales in May 2018. Current production is believed to be nearly 3 million bpd.

Speaking to reporters during a press briefing, Khojasteh Mehr said that Iran’s current export volumes of crude oil and condensates are larger than shipments recorded under a former administration that left office in August.

He said that the NIOC plans to invest some $90 billion to increase crude output to 5 million bpd within the next 10 years.

The official said that the company has similar plans to increase Iran’s natural gas output by a half to 1.5 billion cubic meters in the next 10 years, a project he said would need around $70 billion in new investment.

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