Data indicate Iran's oil exports increase

April 19, 2012 at 8:06 AM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 19 (UPI) -- Iranian crude oil exports increased more than 3 percent in February despite pressure from economic sanctions, an analysis of OPEC countries say.

The Joint Organization Data Initiative Web site reported that Iranian crude oil exports for February increased 3 percent to 2.4 million barrels per day compared with the previous month.

The European Union called for an Iranian crude oil embargo in mid-January. The embargo goes into effect July 1 though Tehran pre-empted the move and halted some exports to European consumers. The United States in late December imposed similar sanctions.

Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said from Tehran this week that the Iranian oil industry has seen few effects of sanctions. Because of the high quality of Iran's crude oil, he said, there aren't any restrictions in the global market, Iran's Press TV reports.

Venezuela, the country with the most proven crude oil reserves as listed by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, increased exports by 13 percent JODI data indicate.

OPEC said current high oil prices can't be justified by anything other than geopolitical factors. It's a "perceived shortage of oil" rather than actual evidence that is keeping oil prices high, the cartel said.

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