Iran Looks for Buyers as Oil Demand Falls ahead of US Sanctions

Iran Looks for Buyers as Oil Demand Falls ahead of US Sanctions

Thursday, 13 September, 2018 - 19:30
Two tankers carrying Iranian condensate have been floating off the UAE coast for about a month as demand for the oil fell ahead of US sanctions. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Two tankers carrying Iranian condensate, a type of ultra-light oil, have been floating off the United Arab Emirates for about a month as demand for the oil fell ahead of US sanctions, said a Reuters report on Sunday.

The tankers, carrying about 2.4 million barrels of South Pars condensate combined, have been floating off the UAE since August after South Korea halted imports from Iran while China’s demand dropped during summer, according to several industry sources and shipping data.

The build-up in Iranian oil supplies underscores the pressure that Iran is facing as Washington aims to bring Iranian oil exports down to zero to force Tehran to re-negotiate a nuclear deal.

The Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) Felicity loaded condensate at Iran’s Assaluyeh port in early August and then set sail for Jebel Ali in the UAE, shipping and trade flows data on Thomson Reuters Eikon showed. It arrived at the ship-to-ship transfer area off Dubai on August 7 and has been anchored there since.

Similarly, the Suezmax tanker Salina also loaded oil at Assaluyeh and has been circling in the same area off Dubai since August 17, according to the data.

Oil processors in South Korea, Iran’s top customer for South Pars condensate, halted Iranian oil liftings in July as banks, insurance and shipping companies wound down business related to Iran before US sanctions the country’s petroleum sector kick in on November 4.

The number of ships loaded with Iranian oil and anchored off the loading port of Kharg Island and the Souroush oil field has also risen as Iran’s pool of buyers shrank, the data showed. Three supertankers capable of carrying 2 million barrels, the Happiness I, MT Hedy and Humanity, have floated for 10 days or more while another four have been there for less than a week.

Iran’s August crude and condensate exports fell to 67.7 million barrels, the lowest since April 2017, according to data from Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecast.

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