Iraq, Iran Boost Oil Exports in Sales Battle With Saudis
LONDON (Bloomberg) - Iraq and Iran boosted crude exports in September, taking advantage of a slower pace of shipments from rival Saudi Arabia to win buyers in key markets like China and the U.S.
Iraq shipped 3.98 million barrels of crude a day, the highest since December, while Iran’s exports rose to 2.28 million barrels a day, the most since February, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. Saudi Arabia’s exports were 6.68 million barrels a day, the second-lowest for this year, the data show. Iran and Iraq’s moves to grab market share cast a light on internal tensions within OPEC as Saudi Arabia, the group’s de facto leader and world’s top oil exporter, works to re-balance the global market. State-run Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco, will make the deepest cuts in supplies to customers in its history in November, the energy ministry said Monday.
“Iraq and Iran are both very opportunistic in selling into markets where buyers are no longer getting the same Saudi volumes,” said Richard Mallinson, an oil analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd. in London. “We’ve seen Saudi Arabia’s exports lower over the last several months, which is consistent with their focus on the re-balancing process.”
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih promised in May that the country would “markedly” reduce exports to the U.S. in an effort to curb swollen crude inventories. Shipments to the U.S. dropped from March through August, when they reached the lowest this year, according to the tanker data. Overall Saudi exports plunged to the lowest in 34 months in July and were about 1 million less than a year earlier, according to the Joint Organizations Data Initiative. Riyadh-based JODI collects data including production and exports directly from countries.