They did not reach zero

They did not reach zero

Despite all the efforts on the eve of the introduction of the second package of sanctions against Iran, the Americans have not been able to achieve a complete cessation of purchases of Iranian oil by the main importers of black gold.

On November 5, new and at the same time old sanctions against the export of Iranian oil, unilaterally adopted by the United States, entered into force. There is no complete clarity in the situation with Tehran’s main source of income. One thing is clear: under strong US pressure, the overwhelming majority of Iranian oil buyers reduced purchases to varying degrees, but the main requirement of the White House was to completely abandon Iran’s oil - at least none of its main importers had fulfilled.

Tehran contributes to the confusion in the oil markets. The Iranians began to turn off transponder beacons on their tankers beforehand. The data on their movements shows that oil exports to Iran are falling, although not as sharply and quickly as markets and specialists predicted a month or two ago.

On the other hand, there is still no definitive clarity about whether Washington will make the exceptions that have been asked by both individual countries and many companies that want to maintain relations with Iran, but at the same time not be subject to US sanctions. So far it is known that only India has received such permission. The Americans, who seem to consider Delhi to be too important a partner, seem to be still satisfied with the reduction of India’s imports of Iranian oil by 35%.

There is no clarity, but one thing is clear - the two largest buyers of Iranian oil: China and India continue to buy it and will continue to do so after November 5. To a certain extent, this weakens the effect of American sanctions. A number of large Chinese and Indian companies that are connected to the American financial system were forced to drastically reduce oil imports from Iran or even completely stop it (Indian company Reliance Industries), but still in general, imports of China and India of Iranian oil in the first three weeks of October even grew slightly or remained about the same level as in the summer.

Thus, according to S & P Global Platts, Teheran’s oil supplies to China from October 1 to October 21 averaged 800 thousand barrels per day. In September, the average number of deliveries was lower by a quarter - 600 thousand. Last year, on average, China bought 602.5 thousand barrels of oil from Tehran every day. Nearly half of Iranian oil and condensate purchased in October - approx. 400 thousand bar./day, was pumped into the repository in Dalian in the north-east of China.

In September, India bought oil from Tehran an average of 600 thousand barrels per day. In October, according to Platts, imports fell to 500 thousand bar./day.

They said in Delhi, Reuters news agency reports that they cannot stop buying oil in Iran until March due to the rapidly growing needs of the Indian economy and the weakening rupee. The fact is that Iranian oil is much cheaper than all alternatives.

Washington generally agreed to make an exception for India on condition that Delhi cut Iranian oil purchases by a third in 2018–19-19, the Indian publication told The Economic Times, citing sources in the Indian government.

On the "zeroing" of imports of Iranian oil as the main goal of Washington, as recently as last week, again spoke at a press conference, Deputy Director of the Press Service of the US Department of State Robert Palladino. However, this goal two days before the start of the sanctions remains as unattainable as a few months ago.

In the first three weeks of October, Tehran’s crude oil and condensate exports fluctuated, according to Platts, at around 1.90-1.95 million barrels per day. However, due to tricks such as disabling transponders, export may be higher.

In August, Iranian oil exports dropped to 2 million barrels per day. Experts expected a further sharp decline in September and October, but it stabilized at 1.9 million barrels per day. This, of course, is very far from “zeroing out” of oil exports, but, on the other hand, it is significantly lower than the peak figures - 2.7 million barrels per day in June of this year. It is noteworthy that the actual statistics on the export of Iranian oil consistently exceeds all experts' forecasts, most of whom predicted a decline not by 0.8 million barrels per day, as now, but by at least 2 million.
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