VIENNA, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Iran reported crude oil production for July was the highest level it's been in at least two years, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said.
OPEC reports in its latest monthly market report Iran was among the 12 members contributing to overall gains in production in July, which saw crude oil prices shed at least $10 per barrel.
"Financial concerns in Greece and China, as well as the outcome of the P5+1 talks on Iran's nuclear program, have all contributed to the current bearish market conditions," the production group said.
Iran under the terms of a November 2013 agreement is allowed some oil exports in exchange for commitments to curb some of its nuclear research activity. In mid-January, Mohsen Rezaei, secretary of the influential Expediency Council, said exports dropped by 1.5 million barrels per day and inflicted more than $100 billion in revenue losses under sanctions.
Global energy companies from Royal Dutch Shell to Italy's Eni have reviewed potential business opportunities in Iran now that it brokered a nuclear agreement with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany.
Iran in December produced just under 2.8 million bpd, down about 20 percent from 2011 levels. The country reported to OPEC oil production for July at 3.13 million bpd, an increase of six tenths of a percent from the previous month. OPEC's own accounting finds Iranian oil production of 2.86 million bpd was a 1.1 percent increase from the previous month.
Crude oil production in the pre-sanctions era in Iran was around 3.6 million bpd.
Crude oil exports, meanwhile, are limited to around 1 million barrels per day and to six nations under the terms of existing sanctions. That's about half of the export potential. Sanctions, meanwhile, resulted in an economic contraction of 5.8 percent in 2012-13, though Iran emerged from recession in late 2014.
Investment firm ING reported Iranian oil exports could spike "in theory," though there are some technical and political obstacles. OPEC in its market report said Iranian crude oil exports will rise "eventually," and put further downward pressure on crude oil prices.