Iran could boost its oil exports by 400,000 barrels a day in the first months after signing a nuclear deal with the U.S. and other world powers, according to Bijan Khajehpour, managing partner of Atieh International, a Vienna-based management consulting firm.
Khajehpour, an Iranian economist, said Iran has about 20 million barrels of crude stored on tankers that it’s been unable to sell due to U.S. and European Union sanctions that went into effect in mid-2012. That stored inventory will allow the Persian Gulf state to rapidly add to its exports, Khajehpour said.
Claims that Iran could increase overseas crude sales by 1 million barrels a day soon after sanctions are lifted are “an illusion,” Khajehpour said Tuesday at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.
Returning to higher, pre-sanctions crude production levels will take about 18 months, Khajehpour said, because of the time lag for sanctions relief to be implemented and for Iran to restore its production capacity. That means Iran could be exporting 2.5 million barrels a day in early 2017.
West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery gained $1.06 to $61.26 a barrel Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since Dec. 9. International benchmark Brent climbed 61 cents to $65.49 on ICE Futures Europe.
“If current prices persist and unconventional oil production decreases,” Iran could restore its share of the world’s oil market by 2017, Khajehpour said.
Iran’s heavy crude has “a lot of customers,” because many refiners were set up for it, so Iran “will regain their share” after 18 months, he predicted.