Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Iran's oil exports plummet as sanctions bite

(Reuters) - Iran's oil exports have fallen by an estimated 40 percent since the start of the year as Western sanctions tear into the country's vital oil industry, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

The agency, which represents the interests of major consuming nations, said preliminary indications suggested exports - the lifeblood of Iran's economy - fell to 1.5 million barrels per day in April-May from 2.5 million at end 2011.

"In months ahead, Iran may need to shut in production volumes if export markets remain similarly constrained and storage fills up," the IEA said in its monthly report.

It said it believed Iran was still producing 3.3 million bpd, down from 3.5 million last year and stockpiling unsold oil.

Tehran has denied it is experiencing problems with oil sales [ID:nL5E8HCK1I] despite mounting evidence its major customers, including China, are turning down offers of cheap crude under pressure from Washington to cut trade ties. [ID:nL3E8HC39L] Read More