Iran oil-export capacity rising

The combined carrying capacity of oil tankers leaving Iranian ports last month rose 6.4 percent from July, vessel-tracking data show. The implied capacity of departing vessels rose to the equivalent of 1.07 million barrels a day from 1.01 million barrels, according to signals gathered by IHS Maritime, a Coulsdon, England-based research company. The data may be incomplete because not all ship transmissions are captured.

U.S. and European sanctions are curbing Iran’s oil exports to pressure the country’s leaders to stop their nuclear program. Shipments dropped from more than 2 million barrels a day in 2011, before the latest rules took effect, according to figures from the website of the Joint Organizations Data Initiative. The table below shows estimated vessel capacities in millions of barrels a day, based on signals from tankers that stopped at Iranian ports as well as movements near the nation’s terminals by its own tankers and Asian ships that previously loaded Iranian cargoes since the European Union’s embargo began in July 2012.

The tallies assume standard cargo sizes of 2 million barrels each for very large crude carriers, 1 million for Suezmax tankers and 650,000 for Aframaxes. Japanese VLCCs that also stopped at other terminals in the Persian Gulf were assumed to load 1 million barrels in Iran. The table also shows estimates from the International Energy Agency, the Paris-based adviser to industrialized countries. The IEA counts cargoes once they are received in importing countries, whereas the ship-tracking data tally exports when they leave Iran.


Ship-Tracking Estimate

IEA Estimate

August 13 1.07 Not available
July 13 1.01 1.16
June 13 1.13 .960
May 13 1.02 1.25
April 13 1.09 .835
March 13 1.17 1.1
February 13 1.022 1.26
January 13 1.137 1.13
December 12 1.052 1.56
November 12 1.008 1.45

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