Iran's Oil Exporters Have Record Month Before Possible Sanctions

(Bloomberg) -- Iran’s crude exporters had a banner April, with shipments soaring to a record right before the possible re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on their oil sales.

Crude exports by OPEC’s third-biggest producer totaled 2.61 million barrels a day, according to the Iranian Oil Ministry’s Shana news service. That beat the previous high of 2.44 million barrels a day in October 2016, it said.

U.S. President Donald Trump will decide by May 12 whether to keep America in an international agreement that restricts Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for relief from sanctions and a restriction on oil sales. Since sanctions were eased as of January 2016, Iran’s crude production has almost doubled. China and India together took 1.4 million barrels a day from Iran in April, according to Shana.

Some oil traders are already unwilling to sign contracts for Iranian crude and refined products that would be valid after May 12, according to recent interviews with six companies that buy and sell oil in the Middle East.

Iran’s crude and condensate exports in April were 2.87 million barrels a day, Shana reported. Observed shipments of both rose to 2.83 million barrels a day from 2.48 million barrels in March, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. Crude volume alone rose to 2.48 million barrels from 2.06 million, the data show.

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