Iran produced an average of 3.79mn b/d of crude in 2017, up 10.5% on 2016, with output reaching 3.83mn b/d last month. Not surprisingly export volumes are also up. Buyers of Iranian crude and condensate took just over 2.50mn b/d last year, edging above 2.47mn b/d for 2011, the year before US-led sanctions ratcheted up (see chart).

With the ending of the EU’s embargo on Iranian oil imports in January 2016, volumes have flooded back into Europe (MEES, 26 February 2016). Under the...