Iran has raised official prices for its light grade oil above average for its Asian buyers for August, although most of its oil is sold by intermediaries with no information on actual prices.
The National Iranian Oil Company set the official selling price (OSP) of its light grade oil at $8.90 above the Oman/Dubai average, up $2.80 from the previous month.
The new prices are announced about $9 higher than the average for countries in Asia – which are reportedly the only buyers of Iranian oil -- but are only $3 higher for Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa, which have not bought any oil from the Islamic Republic for the past three years.
China and Syria are the only official buyers of Iran’s oil, with less than 26,000 barrels of direct purchase per day by China, but data by tanker tracking companies indicate that Iran delivered 600 to 700 thousand barrels, which means over 95 percent of Iran’s oil exports are carried out via intermediaries disguised as Iraqi, Emirati, Indonesian or Malaysian oil.
US third-party sanctions imposed by former President Donald Trump are still in force, as Tehran has failed to reach a nuclear agreement with Washington. Higher listed prices could be a move by Iran to show that it is able to export its oil under good terms despite US sanctions.
On July 12, Iran said its oil production in June increased by 31,000 barrels a day, rejecting reports that Russia has taken market share, shipping more oil to China. Latest OPEC monthly report shows that Iran produced 2,574,000 barrels per day in June, slightly higher than in May.
When the United States imposed full oil export sanctions on Iran in May 2019, exports dropped from more than 2 million barrels a day in 2016-2017 to around 250,000.