Iraq, Iran Boost Oil Ex­ports in Sales Bat­tle With Saudis

Iran News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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