Iran’s oil exports rose to a one-year high in the past two months, the International Energy Agency said Friday in its monthly oil report, benefiting from reduced tensions with the West but also threatening to exceed a sanctions-imposed cap of 1 million barrels a day, on average, over six months.
The cap is required by a deal over Iran's nuclear program with the "P5+1" global powers (the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China).
Iran’s crude exports averaged 1.16 million barrels a day in January, according to the IEA, and based on preliminary estimates, remained as high in February. Crude exports from the country averaged 1 million barrels a day in 2013.
The European Union bans oil imports from Iran, but Asian buyers are increasingly comfortable with Iranian oil because political risks are declining. India’s oil imports from Iran increased by 175,000 barrels a day in January to 415,000. Imports to Japan and China dropped by about 45,000 and 40,000 barrels a day, respectively.
In February, imports of Iranian oil grew by 155,000 barrels a day in Japan and 145,000 barrels a day in South Korea, making up for lower sales to China and India. The U.S. reportedly asked India to cut back on its Iranian oil imports to fulfill the nuclear deal.