TOKYO (Reuters) - Iran’s crude oil exports are set to decline 5 percent in November to a four-month low, a source with knowledge of its preliminary tanker schedule said, as low seasonal demand in Europe takes the edge off its post-sanctions export bonanza.
Iran’s oil exports typically hit a low around October or November each year, reflecting peak refinery maintenance seasons in Europe and in Asia. Next month, however, shipments to Asia look to be steady to higher as China’s purchases rebound from an October dip to its lowest Iran imports for the year so far.
Overall, OPEC’s third-largest producer has been regaining market share at a faster pace than analysts had projected since sanctions were lifted in January, with its exports of crude and condensate hitting a five-year high of 2.60 million barrels per day (bpd) or more in September.
Iran’s sales of crude, excluding ultra light oil condensate, are set to fall to 1.89 million bpd in November, according to the source who is familiar with the tanker schedule, down a second straight month from a crude-only five-year high of 2.14 million bpd in September.
Compared with a year ago, Tehran’s November crude exports are set to rise 156 percent, according to the source. Details on the condensate loadings for November are not yet available.
If shipments of the ultra light oil were steady with the average for the first 10 months of the year at 354,000 bpd, total crude and condensate exports next month would be about 2.25 million bpd. That would be down about 310,000 bpd from October and at a four-month low, but would still keep exports about even with the low-end of 2011 pre-sanctions levels.
CHINA REBOUND PULLS UP ASIA
Iran’s crude exports excluding condensate to Asia next month are likely to total 1.46 million bpd, up 74,000 bpd from October, but exports to Europe look to fall to 433,000 bpd from 613,000 bpd in October.
Crude oil loadings headed for China will jump 35 percent to 609,000 bpd next month from October, followed closely by India’s 581,000 bpd. If loading numbers hold, China will regain its top-buyer status from India for the first time in two months.
South Korea is set to take 117,000 bpd in November, up from 71,000 bpd in October. Japan is lifting 87,000 bpd of crude, down 51 percent. Taiwan, which has been buying from Iran every other month, will lift about 2 million barrels in November.
Turkey is lifting 133,000 bpd in November, down 31 percent from the previous month. Greece is lifting around 2 million barrels, and Spain and Italy are loading about 1 million barrels each.
Iran is additionally pushing about 2 million barrels of crude into its offshore storage next month, the source said.
Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Tom Hogue
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