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Iran Gears Up for Return to Oil Market as U.S. Talks Advance

  • NIOC is priming oilfields and reaching out to former customers
  • If sanctions are lifted, output is expected to rise gradually
Iran's Salman Oil Field Ahead Of U.S. Sanctions
Photographer: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg
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Iran is preparing to ramp up global oil sales as talks to lift U.S. sanctions show signs of progress. But even if a deal is struck, the flow of additional crude into the market may be gradual.

State-controlled National Iranian Oil Co. has been priming oil fields -- and customer relationships -- so it can increase exports if an accord is clinched, officials said. Under the most optimistic estimates, the country could return to pre-sanctions production of almost 4 million barrels a day in as little as three months. It could also tap a flotilla’s worth of oil that’s hoarded away in storage.