Iran luring its Asian oil buyers by discounts

November 22, 2017

TEHRAN- Iran is offering discounts to the Asian customers of its crude oil in a bid to retain them.

The country hopes that price reductions will boost the appeal of its crude compared with other Middle Eastern supply even as the potential threat of further U.S. sanctions on the country looms, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has in the last few weeks offered spot cargoes, ranging from light to heavy grades, to its term buyers in Asia, after setting December prices at the lowest in years against comparable Saudi grades, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The sources declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak with media, while NIOC was not immediately available for comment.

NIOC first cut the official selling price (OSP) of Iran Heavy crude against Saudi’s Arab Medium grade for October, before lowering it again for December. That puts the Iran Heavy price for December at the widest discount against Arab Medium in over a decade, data on Thomson Reuters Eikon showed.

Meanwhile, price cuts for Iranian Light placed the oil at its lowest premium in two years against Saudi Arabia’s Arab Light.

The discounts were made to retain existing buyers of Iranian oil, which already have government-backed arrangements in place from when the original western sanctions hit Iran’s oil exports in 2012-2014, the sources said.

Japanese and Indian buyers responded to the price cuts for October by increasing imports and are expected to keep volumes elevated due to competitive prices, trade sources said.

Iran’s offers for December come weeks before the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers meet on Nov. 30 to decide whether to extend a deal to cut production and support prices.

MA

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