An Iranian benchmark for oil just topped $60 per barrel

Iranian state media said that its exports now top 2 million barrels of oil per day.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Nov. 7, 2017 at 9:11 AM
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Nov. 7 (UPI) -- After boasting of unprecedented economic growth, Iranian state media said the situation has improved after its benchmark for oil passed $60 per barrel.

Iran Heavy crude breached $60 per barrel in early Tuesday trading, trading relatively on par with the basket of crude oil grades for OPEC members. Iran's benchmark was trading at a discount of about $1 per barrel against the Dubai benchmark, but about $3 per barrel more than the U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate.

The official Islamic Republic News Agency said oil prices are accelerating because of regional crises and the looming threat of violence in Nigeria.

"Iran's oil production is about 3.9 million barrels a day, including the 2.2 million barrels exported," the report read.

The state-run National Iranian South Oil. Co, which accounts for about 80 percent of total Iranian oil production, said this week its total crude oil production is up more than 1 million barrels per day from last year.

Sanctions on Iran before the landmark nuclear agreement in 2015 left the economy under pressure. IRNA said its heavy crude was around $45 per barrel in 2014, but hit the mid-$20 range when oil markets collapsed early last year.

According to a country profile from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Iran's oil export grades, both heavy and light, were displaced under sanctions pressure by similar grades from follow members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

EIA noted that Asian economies were the primary buyers of Iranian crude oil. The discount for WTI compared with rival grades, meanwhile, makes U.S. oil more competitive in the region.

In October, the Central Bank of Iran told the representatives from the International Monetary Fund that a "new picture" of economic growth was emerging in the post-sanctions era.

"[The] Iranian economy experienced an unprecedented growth last year," Akbar Komijani, the bank's deputy governor said in a statement. "Single-digit inflation and relative stability in the foreign exchange market testify to its potentials and predictability."

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