Iran Sanctions Lifted, Crude Crashes

U.S. and European Union sanctions on Tehran were finally lifted on Saturday 16 January, restoring Iran’s access to world’s markets.

Crude prices have been tanking for months, dropping to below $30 a barrel. A flood of new oil from Iran will likely push them even lower very soon.

Iran is able quickly to pull oil out of storage and from tankers floating at sea ... which it has an interest to do soon, since it is paying to store that oil.

Analysts expect Iran to add between 600,000 and one million barrels per day to its oil output, but the country’s leaders are much more bullish.

Iran is aiming to increase output by close to 1.5 million barrels by the end of 2016, taking daily production to 4.2 million, Iran’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said.

Tehran is in a tricky position. The more oil it exports, the more likely prices will drop even more. Iran has relatively low production costs compared to other countries, but another slump in prices would put its plans at risk. The country desperately needs heavy investments in its out-of-date oil infrastructure.

Iran is a member of the oil cartel OPEC. Just few years ago, OPEC countries would adjust their production to keep prices in check. The U.S. shale boom has forced OPEC to change its strategy and step up production to defend its market share.