Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi today told the Majlis, the Iranian parliament, that Iran’s oil exports have fallen at least 40 percent over the past year due to international sanctions. Qasemi’s comments contradicted his previous denials of the sharp declines in oil exports.
“Over the last 9 months there has been a 40% decline in oil sales and a 45% decrease in repatriating oil earnings," Qasemi told the parliamentarians. (IRNA, 7 January)
Oil has been the major source of hard currency revenues for Iran. In 2011, the oil exports were at 2.4 million barrels a day, reaching nearly $100 billion and covering 60 percent of the country’s budget. By the end of 2012, the oil exports have hit a record low of around 1.0 million b/d. Iran’s position as the second biggest crude exporters has now fallen to the fourth place, after Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait.
Meanwhile, new U.S. sanctions are expected to further limit Iran's ability to generate revenues from selling oil. Under provisions of a U.S. law that take effect in early February, importers of Iranian oil that have been exempted from the sanctions cannot make payments to Iran for their purchases and instead Iran is to keep sales revenues in the purchasing countries to be used later for import of approved goods originating from those countries.
File photo: Iran’s oil export terminal at Kharg Island (Getty Images)