Iran oil exports to plummet in November, then rebound as buyers use waivers

SINGAPORE/LONDON (Reuters) - Iran’s oil exports have fallen sharply since U.S. President Donald Trump said at mid-year he would reimpose sanctions on Tehran, but with waivers in hand the Islamic Republic’s major buyers are already planning to scale up orders again.

FILE PHOTO: A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf, Iran, July 25, 2005. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/File Photo

The original aim of the sanctions was to cut Iran’s oil exports as much as possible, to quash its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and curb its support for militant proxies, particularly in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

But the exemptions granted to Iran’s biggest oil clients - China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey - allow them to import at least some oil for another 180 days and could mean exports start to rise after November.

This group of eight buyers imported over 80 percent of Iran’s roughly 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil exports last year, Refiniv Eikon data shows.

GRAPHIC: Iranian oil imports of 8 countries given waivers - tmsnrt.rs/2D30JeW

“The decision by the U.S. (to grant waivers) represents a departure, for now, from the stated aim of reducing Iran’s oil exports to zero,” said Pat Thaker, regional director for the Middle East and Africa at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Iran’s crude exports have fallen significantly from at least 2.5 million bpd in April, before Trum....

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