“Exports are way up right now. We are seeing close to 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in both crude and condensate so far this month,” Samir Madani, co-founder of the TankerTrackers group, told Reuters.
“These are levels we haven’t seen in a year and a half.”
Since May 2018 Iran’s exports have shrunk in the wake of a move by the administration of US President Donald Trump to unilaterally withdraw from the landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and major world powers in 2015.
Trump said the “toughest ever” sanctions had been imposed against the Islamic Republic.
However, data from TankerTrackers and two other tracking firms, asking not to be named, indicated that Iran’s exports are rising.
According to data released by TankerTrackers, which tracks shipments and oil storage, the figure for the September exports was twice that of August, nearly 11 percent of which was ultra light crude known as condensate.
It added that foreign vessels have picked up almost half of Iranian exports via ship-to-ship transfers.
The two other firms have also confirmed a hike in the exports of Iranian oil and condensate in September but not to the same extent.
One of them said it was seeing an increase of at least 100,000 bpd in September, which is still a considerable volume compared to a low point in May, when Iran’s crude exports fell to 100,000 to 200,000 bpd from 2.7 million bpd in May 2018.
Iran dismisses US claims that sanctions have had a crippling impact on shipping oil to traditional customers like China and India.
The White House has terminated sanctions waivers for major buyers of crude from the Islamic Republic in an attempt to bring Iran’s oil exports to “zero.”
Under pressure from the United States, foreign companies have pulled out of deals that help develop Iran's oil and gas fields.
Tehran has warned it would react militarily if its exports are cut to zero as sought by Trump.
Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh in July expressed the country’s resolve to develop its oil industry despite US sanctions.