Iran’s total crude oil and condensate sales likely reached around 2.8 million barrels per day in September, two sources with knowledge of the matter said, nearly matching a 2011 peak in shipments before sanctions were imposed on the OPEC producer.
The run-up from shipments of around 2.5 million bpd in August comes mainly from condensate, a light oil excluded from OPEC supply quotas that is often produced with natural gas and can be used to make naphtha for petrochemical production.
Iran sold 600,000 bpd of condensate for September, including about 100,000 bpd shipped from storage, to meet robust demand in Asia, the two sources said. September crude exports increased slightly from the previous month to about 2.2 million bpd, they said.
Iran, along with Libya and Nigeria, is allowed to produce “at maximum levels that make sense” as part of any output limits in a surprise deal reached last week by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Still, the Middle Eastern producer has surprised the market by ramping up its oil output faster than expected, to 3.63 million bpd in August, according to OPEC, up a quarter from end-2015 since sanctions were lifted in January.