The United States is “comfortable” with the level of Iran’s oil exports, a senior U.S. official said Friday, despite the country’s oil sales reaching their highest levels in a year.
Monthly data from the International Energy Agency released Friday said crude exports of Iranian oil averaged 1.16 million barrels a day in January, stripping out condensates. Based on preliminary estimates, that figure stayed put in February, according to the agency’s data.
The boost in oil exports–if it continued–could exceed a cap on exports Iran agreed to as part of an interim deal over its nuclear program. November’s interim deal requires that Iran’s shipments shouldn’t average more than 1 million barrels a day of crude over the six months of the agreement, which started Jan. 20.
Asked about the data, the U.S. official said there were no concerns at this stage.
“There will be month-to-month fluctuations in the level of oil. What we look at is the aggregate over time,” the U.S. official said.
The official said U.S. experts have had “very direct discussions” with Iran’s remaining oil importers about the appropriate level of Iran’s crude exports.
“We are comfortable with where we are in that process. We will continue to monitor this as closely if not more closely than you all do and we will take appropriate action if we begin to have concerns.”
The U.S. and the European Union have banned Iranian crude oil imports but a number of Asian countries including India, Japan and China continue buying Iranian oil.
(Source: Dow Jones)