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Asian markets look to recovery of Iran’s LPG exports

Iran’s LPG export program has extended its decline for a fourth month in December, even though the South Pars gas field resumed production around three weeks ago after two months’ maintenance, trade sources said this week.

According to Press TV, the initial shipment program shows about 199,000 mt of LPG will be lifted in December, down slightly from 220,000 mt in November, though trade sources said more shipments could still be fixed.

If more cargoes were to be fixed, it would signal a slow recovery in Iranian LPG exports.

The December estimate takes shipments from Iran for the year to date to about 3.33 million mt.

The latest volumes are destined for China, Indonesia, Africa and possibly South Asia, according to cFlow, S&P Global Platts ship-tracking software.

Before the July 2012 Western sanctions, which were lifted in January 2016, Iran exported more than 400,000 mt/month of LPG, mainly to Asia, sources said.

Monthly Iranian shipments have been slipping since touching a year-to-date high of 423,000 mt in August because of reduced output at the South Pars gas field, sources said. The field returned from maintenance around mid-November, but condensate production remained low immediately after that, which also kept LPG exports subdued.

Rising domestic consumption since the maintenance has also prompted the National Iranian Oil Co., or NIOC, to cap condensate exports at a similar level to during the field maintenance, Platts had reported.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said last Thursday the country’s crude oil production was now around 3.8 million b/d, along with 400,000 b/d from condensates, while crude oil and condensate exports combined stood at more than 2.5 million b/d.

International trading firms Petredec and Glencore lifted cargoes from Iranian ports in December, shipping sources said.

Petredec loaded at Assaluyeh a 44,000 mt evenly split propane/butane cargo from Iranian Gas Commercial Co., or IGCC, aboard the VLGC Pacific Shanghai. The vessel is now in the Gulf of Oman en route to Kalbut in Indonesia, according to cFlow, S&P Global Platts ship-tracking software.

Glencore loaded from Bandar Imam Khomeini an 18,000 mt parcel, comprising 4,000 mt of propane and 14,000 mt butane, from Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industry Commercial Co., or PGPICC, aboard the SeaSpeed.

The vessel is on its way to Mombasa, Kenya, according to cFlow.

Trading firm Global Reality, a regular lifter of Iranian cargoes this year, loaded from Bandar Imam Khomeini a 44,000 mt cargo, comprising 33,000 mt of propane and 11,000 mt butane, aboard the Gas Jasmine from PGPICC, sources said. The VLGC is now in the Gulf of Oman en route to Fang Cheng in southern China.

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