Iran undercuts Saudis for Mediterranean oil sales

Vessels sail past Malta-flagged Iranian crude oil supertanker "Delvar" (L) anchoring off Singapore.

*Vessels sail past Malta-flagged Iranian crude oil supertanker “Delvar” (L) anchoring off Singapore.

*Eyes market share

11 February 2016, Singapore — OPEC producer Iran has cut its Heavy crude price for export to the Mediterranean by a larger extent compared with top exporter Saudi Arabia as Tehran seeks to attract more buyers after sanctions were lifted.

The region is one of the battlegrounds for Iran as it tries to reclaim market share lost in the last few years when western sanctions restricted Iranian crude imports.

The March official selling price (OSP) for Iranian Heavy crude to the Mediterranean was set at $6.40 a barrel below the Brent Weighted Average (BWAVE), down 35 cents from the previous month, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.

The OSP for comparative Saudi grade Arab Medium for sale to the same region fell by 20 cents over the same period. <OSP/SA>

In Northwest Europe and South Africa, Iranian Heavy’s March OSP was set at $6.30 a barrel below BWAVE, up 25 cents from a month ago, against a discount of $6.00 for Arab Medium in the same region.

Iran has also cut the March OSPs for Iranian Light to Northwest Europe and South Africa, Mediterranean and Sidi Kerir by 10-25 cents, largely in line with Saudi Arab Light’s price changes.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Saturday that Iran’s crude oil sales to Europe after the lifting of international sanctions on Tehran had already reached above 300,000 barrels, according to the ministry’s news agency.

Still, the lack of shipping insurance and payment issues are hampering Iran’s efforts in increasing exports.

The tables below show the price differentials for March against BWAVE in U.S. dollars.
NW EUROPE AND SOUTH AFRICA
Grade                           March          Feb               Change

IRANIAN LIGHT          -4.95              -4.85                 0.10
IRANIAN HEAVY         -6.30              -6.55               +0.25
FOROZAN                      -6.10              -6.35                +0.25

MEDITERRANEAN
Grade                            March       Feb               Change
IRANIAN LIGHT           -4.95          -4.70                 -0.25
IRANIAN HEAVY          -6.40         -6.05                 -0.35
FOROZAN                       -6.25          -5.90                -0.35
SOROUSH IH                 -3.85 IH   -4.80                +0.95

SIDI KERIR
Grade                               March       Feb          Change
IRANIAN LIGHT            -3.65            -3.45            -0.20
IRANIAN HEAVY          -5.00            -4.70            -0.30
FOROZAN                       -4.85            -4.55              -0.30

*Florence Tan; Editing -y Tom Hogue & Christian Schmollinger – Reuters

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