Iran's crude and condensate exports recover from March dip

ANKARA (Reuters) - Iran’s crude and condensate exports have recovered from a fall in March and currently stand at 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd), state TV on Monday reported Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh as saying.

FILE PHOTO: Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh talks to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

“The decline in March was a temporary issue. It has increased now and currently all together we export 2.5 million barrels of oil and gas condensates,” Zanganeh told state TV.

March liftings from Iran, the third-biggest producer among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), were down 26 percent year on year.

Iran has been working to regain market share after Western sanctions over its disputed nuclear program were lifted in 2016 under a deal between the country and six major powers.

But U.S. President Donald Trump has warned European signatories of the accord to fix “the disastrous flaws” in the pact or face a U.S. exit.

On May 12, Trump will decide whether to restore U.S. economic sanctions on Tehran, which would be a severe blow to the pact.

“We have to wait for Trump’s decision. But Iran will use all its capacity and experience to protect the country against the consequences of Trump’s decision,” Zanganeh said.

Iran has been striving to retain customers for its oil in Asia, hoping concessions will boost the appeal of its crude compared with other Middle Eastern suppliers, even as the threat looms of potential further U.S. sanctions on the country.

Zanganeh said Iran might offer discounts on oil sales, as the OPEC member is keen to preserve its market share.

“Iran will take all the necessary measures to keep its oil market share because of the political atmosphere and the American president’s decision on the deal,” Zanganeh said when asked about rumors on offering discounts to India on oil sales.

“We have not given a special discount to India but it is possible to make changes in our prices.”

Iran used to be the second-biggest oil supplier to India before crippling oil-related sanctions were imposed by the United States and the European Union on Tehran in 2012.

Tehran is gradually raising its market share in the world’s third-biggest oil consuming nation.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter