Iran's crude exports set to fall in May to 14-mos low
TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) — Iran's crude oil exports are set to hit a 14-mos low in May, suggesting that the country is struggling to raise exports after clearing out stocks stored on tankers.
Part of the drop may also be attributable to a decline in demand, as loadings bound for India are set to slump to a 1-yr low after a dispute over the award of a contract for a gas field, and Japan's orders fall by more than half from April.
Iran is also putting approximately 3 MMbbl back into storage in May, underlining how much oil remains available in the market despite an agreement between the OPEC and non-OPEC producers to cut output and boost prices.
Crude oil loadings from Iran are expected to total nearly 1.7 MMbpd in May, with almost 100 Mbpd being put into storage on tankers, according to sources.
In April, the country is expected to export 1.8 MMbpd of crude, and more than 370 Mbpd of condensate, down sharply from a 6-yr high of nearly 2.9 MMbpd in February for both forms of oil. In March, Iran loaded some 2.6 MMbpd of both crude and condensate, mostly the former. It is reported that no barrels of either crude or condensate were put into storage in March and April.
The final figures for February exports were significantly higher than preliminary numbers reported earlier by Reuters, and show that Iran took full advantage of its exemption from the production cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC producers, including Russia.
Still, Indian buyers are cutting purchases after state-owned refiners agreed to cut their annual imports deal with Iran by one-fifth to put pressure on Tehran to award the Farzad B gas field to an Indian consortium.
Crude liftings for India in May are expected to reach approximately 370 Mbpd. In April, Indian customers are lifting nearly 470 Mbpd of both crude and condensate. Japan is scheduled to lift nearly 40 Mbpd in May, the lowest since March.
Loadings of crude and condensate for China this month will hit a 4-mos low of a little more than 500 Mbpd.
Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori and Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Christian Schmollinger
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