Iran’s crude oil output is expected to remain steady at around 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in February, its OPEC governor said on Thursday, February 23, showing no sign of a slowdown despite the West’s sanctions against its oil exports, according to Reuters.
“The production for this month will be the same as the previous, around 3.5 (million bpd),” Mohammad Ali Khatibi said. “There will be no change, things are going as normal here.”
Ahead of a European Union embargo, effective July 1, European buyers have been cutting back on supplies from Iran and some of its biggest customers in Asia have also reduced purchases.
Iran would lower its oil exports if it sees the demand for its crude dropping, Iran’s deputy oil minister said on Wednesday. But Khatibi said there was no need so far to reduce Iran’s output.
“We still have customers, everything is normal,” added Khatibi, Iran’s representative on the board of governors of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
China, India and Japan, the top three buyers of Iranian oil, together buy about 45 percent of Iran’s crude exports.
While India has said it will not implement the sanctions, it, along with China and Japan are planning cuts of at least 10 percent in Iranian crude imports as U.S. measures make it difficult for the top Asian buyers to keep doing business with the OPEC producer.
Turkey, which buys nearly 40 percent of its crude oil from Iran, has so far been a loyal customer and is likely to stick with Iranian oil.
Citing industry estimates, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that up to 1 million bpd of Iran’s 2.6 million bpd of exports could be replaced by alternative supplies once EU sanctions begin.
The Islamic Republic’s oil output has fallen over the last two years by more than 250,000 bpd, or 6.6 percent, and could lose more than 300,000 bpd this year and a further 200,000 bpd in 2013, Vienna-based consultants JBC Energy estimate.