Sanctions against Iran involving the suspected nuclear weapons development is being strengthened, thus the country's economic situation is said to become harder.
Actually, how many Iranian crude oil exports are being restricted by the sanction?
I have told about reduction of Iranian crude oil imports by Japan and China. However, Iran's crude oil productions are not decreasing significantly. The decrease pace looks staying less than a natural decline that is caused by a lack of fresh investments.
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries estimates that Iran's crude oil output in January was at 3.48 million barrels per day. The volume was decreased only 180,000 bpd from a year ago.
China is reported to be reducing Iranian crude oil import since the beginning of this year because of tough price negotiation. Iran's crude oil shipment heading for China in January was estimated at about 250,000 bpd. It was drastically decreased from the last year's average of 550,000 bpd.
Iran's crude oil production, however, did not fall apparently despite such severe reduction of demand.
Meanwhile, media reported that India had lifted imports of Iranian crude oil in January 37.5% from a year ago to 550,000 bpd. India seems to be absorbing excess Iranian oil instead of China.
India's average Iranian crude oil import was 310,000 bpd in 2011, according to the International Energy Agency.
India is facing difficulties to receive payment from Iran for foods and other stuff. Barter trades between these nations may be expanding.
On the other hand, IEA estimates that average Iran's crude oil export to the European Union in 2011 was about 600,000 bpd.
Iran's average crude oil shipment to EU in the first half of 2011 was 450,000 bpd, while that in 3Q in the year rose above 700,000 bpd. It possibly rose further toward 800,000 bpd during 4Q.
Industry sources estimate that Iran's crude oil shipment to EU was about 650,000 bpd in January 2012.
Since mid-2011, EU has been the largest buyer of Iranian crude oil instead of China. Especially Italy and Spain seemed to rely on Iranian oil more, and that was thought the main reason why EU failed to begin the import ban immediately.
Recent increasing crude oil productions in Libya and Iraq are likely to allow European countries to reduce dependence to Iran.