Iran has been selling stored oil and is unable to ramp up production without outside help
Iran has sold all the oil it had stored for years at sea and Tehran is now struggling to keep exports growing as it grapples with production constraints, shipping and oil sources say.With the Trump administration now in place, it will be difficult for Iran to get new waivers and it is unlikely banks will be willing to finance Iran's expansion with the prospect of new sanctions. Iran has already been tied to increased terror attacks from Yemen to Bahrain as it burns through its windfall from Obama's bad deal.
Since the easing of international sanctions in January 2016, Iran tried to make up for lost sales by releasing millions of barrels parked on tankers offshore.
Tanker tracking and oil sources said Iran had sold its last stocks from the floating storage in the past two weeks. Much of the oil stored was condensate, a very light grade of crude.
With no more stocks at sea, Iran has lost a vital resource that had propped up exports.
"We do think that (floating storage) has been the primary cause of the boost in exports," Energy Aspects analyst Richard Mallinson said, adding that now floating storage had ended total exports of crude and condensate were likely to slip.
"We see a very difficult path for Iran to raise crude output until it can get the Western expertise and investment back into the upstream, which has been notably slow to materialize," he added.
After Western sanctions were eased, Iran's output jumped from about 2.9 million barrels per day (bpd) to about 3.6 million bpd in June.
But it has barely risen since - fluctuating between 3.6 million and 3.7 million bpd - even though Iran fought hard with fellow OPEC members to be excluded from production cuts that came into effect on Jan. 1 and will last till June.