Washington’s years-long effort to bring Iran’s oil exports down “to zero” has failed to bear fruit, with fresh restrictions put in place by the Biden administration last fall to “severely restrict” the Islamic Republic’s crude sales culminating in the nation’s exports to its biggest customer hitting a decade-long high.
Iran has announced plans to further ramp up the creation and implementation of new oil and gas projects as the Middle Eastern nation projects its biggest bump in sales to energy-hungry China since 2013.
Sixty-seven oil and gas projects currently in development worth the equivalent of $15 billion will be put into operation before the end of the current Iranian calendar year in March 2024, First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber has announced.
Sixteen additional projects, worth an additional $21 billion, continue to be developed, according to Mokhber’s figures.
On Monday, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji indicated that Iran had completed energy projects worth over $12 billion over the past year, and that “not a single cent” of the nation’s oil revenues have been blocked by sanctions since the Raisi administration took power in 2021.
Owji said Iran’s oil production has reached 3.19 million barrels per day (bpd), with plans to increase output to 3.3 million bpd before the end of the month, with the production of gas condensates reaching the equivalent of between 700,000 and 800,000 barrels per day.
In a related development, Iranian government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi said Tuesday that Phase 11 of the massive South Pars gas field owned jointly by Iran and Qatar would become operational in the near future in a ceremony to be attended by President Raisi and Oil Minister Owji. The gigantic Persian Gulf field is estimated to have up to 1,800 trillion cubic feet (51 trillion cubic meters) of gas, plus 50 billion barrels of natural gas condensate, with the energy wealth split between the two countries.
KPLR, a Houston-based commodities analytics firm, calculated this week that Chinese imports of Iranian crude have soared to their highest levels since 2013 in 2023, with the Islamic Republic estimated to export up to 1.5 million barrels per day to the Asian economic giant throughout August – up from an average of 917,000 bpd in exports reported between January and July.
Also this week, Iran’s Plan and Budget Organization chief Davoud Manzour told lawmakers that Iran’s oil revenues have increased by 42 percent since March.
Iran’s National Oil Company expects crude production to reach 3.5 million bpd per day by September – up from a low of just below 2 million bpd in late 2020, at the height of Washington’s attempts to sanction Tehran into submission and bring the country’s energy exports down “to zero.”