WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has removed nearly 2.7 million barrels of Iranian oil from global markets as a result of Washington’s decision to reimpose sanctions on all purchases of Iran’s crude, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday. In an interview with MSNBC, Pompeo said the U.S. government was confident it could continue with its strategy. The United States reimposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and six world powers. In May, Washington ended sanction waivers given to importers of Iranian oil, aiming to cut Tehran’s exports to zero. Iran exported about 100,000 bpd of crude in July, according to an industry source who tracks such flows and data from Refinitiv Eikon. If condensate, a light oil, is included, shipments were about 120,000 bpd a day. “We have managed to take almost 2.7 million barrels of crude oil off of the market, denying Iran the wealth to create their terror campaign around the world, and we have managed to keep the oil markets fully supplied,” Pompeo said. “I am confident we can continue to do that,” he added.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other producers have been cutting 1.2 million bpd since Jan. 1 to reduce global supply. OPEC in July renewed the pact until March 2020 to avoid a build-up of inventories as worldwide demand is seen weakening.
Despite OPEC’s actions along with U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, Brent crude international oil prices have been relatively weak, falling on Tuesday to $59 a barrel from a 2019 high of $75, pressured by concerns about slowing demand. The exact level of Iranian exports has become harder to assess since U.S. sanctions returned in November, meaning estimates fall into a range rather than a definitive figure.