March 9, 2018 / 6:18 AM / 2 years ago

Iran's March oil exports fall to two-year low as Asia demand eases -source

    * March crude, condensate loading at 1.94 mln bpd, down 21
pct m/m
    * Asia's loading to tumble by a third m/m to 1.12 mln bpd
    * Japan to lift no oil in March, first time since March 2016

    By Osamu Tsukimori
    TOKYO, March 9 (Reuters) - Iran's crude and condensate
exports are set to fall to a two-year low this month as loadings
for its main Asian buyers will tumble by one-third from the
previous month, said a person with knowledge of the country's
tanker loading schedule.
    Global buyers are scheduled to lift 1.94 million barrels per
day (bpd) of Iranian crude in March, down 21 percent from the
previous month, said the source who declined to be named as the
information is confidential. That is the lowest since March
    Compared to a year ago, March liftings from Iran, the
third-biggest producer among the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC), will be down 26 percent. The decline
is occurring despite its efforts to entice customers, including
reducing official selling prices and offering to raise the
freight discounts to India.
    Iranian exports in March are set to fall below year-ago
levels for the third month in a row. That should help OPEC to
tighten global supply, supporting slumping oil prices that have
dropped recently on growing concerns about soaring output from
the United States.
    Iran, which has been working hard to regain market share
after Western sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme were
lifted in January 2016, aims to raise its crude output capacity
by 700,000 bpd to 4.7 million bpd within the next four years,
Deputy Oil Minister Amir Zamaninia said last month.
    Exports to its main markets in Asia are set to total 1.12
million bpd this month, down by one-third from February and the
lowest since November 2015, Reuters calculations showed.
    Japan, Asia's fourth-biggest buyer of Iranian oil, will not
lift any oil this month, the first time since March 2016, the
source said amid uncertainty over whether sovereign insurance
for tankers carrying Iranian oil would be extended beyond March.
    The following table shows monthly loadings of crude and
condensate at Iranian ports in 1,000 barrels per day to global
markets and countries, as well as rough percentage changes from
the previous month, according to the source.
                    Asia         Mar     Feb    pct
                   China         490     682    -28
                   India         365     456    -20
                   Japan           0     207   -100
             South Korea         263     325    -19
              Total Asia       1,117   1,670    -33
                     UAE         111     152    -27
       Total Middle East         111     152    -27
                  Greece          97      71     36
                   Italy         161     179    -10
                   Spain          97      89      8
                  Turkey         226     179     27
       North West Europe         129     107     20
            Total Europe         710     625     14
     Total crude exports       1,938   2,448    -21
 (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Christian
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