OPEC supply eased slightly in September, and Iranian exports hit a new low
15 October 2012
October’s Oil Market Report (OMR) highlights the narrow but still elevated price range for crude oil prices in the past month, as renewed concerns about the economy blunted the effect of escalating tensions in the Middle East.
Nevertheless, preliminary data suggest that OECD countries increased oil stocks, an unusual development for this time of the year. The increase comes as European refiners have delayed seasonal maintenance to keep benefitting from a dramatic turnaround in refining margins.
OPEC crude oil supply eased 510 kb/d in September to an eight‐month low of 31.17 mb/d, as reduced output from Nigeria, Iran and Saudi Arabia offset higher supplies from Iraq and Libya.
One unexpected development was the continued decline in Iranian exports as a result of the expanded international sanctions that took effect 1 July. Many observers had expected the sanctions to lose some bite in September, as Iranian exporters and some of their clients were reportedly seeking ways to get around insurance constraints. In fact, compliance appeared to tighten, and Iranian crude deliveries fell to a new low, an estimated 860 kb/d.