Iran boosts oil production to a five-year high

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FILE PHOTO: A gas flare on an oil production platform is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Gulf July 25, 2005. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/File Photo

Iran’s crude oil and condensate production increased by 16.1% in 2021, reaching 3.17 million barrels per day, according to BP’s statistical review of world energy. This is the highest level of production since 2016 when Iran was producing 3.6 million barrels per day.

Iran ranks 7th in the world in oil production as of 2016, but it has faced challenges such as political unrest, US sanctions, and natural decline. Iran’s oil fields require enhanced oil recovery techniques to maintain production, which is declining at an annual rate of 8% to 10%.

Iran’s crude oil production reached a 30-year low in 2020 as a result of these sanctions and the economic impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Output rose slightly in 2021 because global oil demand increased. Although sanctions on its oil exports remained in place, Iran shipped more crude oil, primarily to China, in 2021.

If sanctions were lifted, Iran’s crude oil production could return to full capacity, which EIA assesses at 3.7 million barrels per day. Indirect negotiations related to Iran’s nuclear program between the United States and Iran began in April 2021 and are ongoing as of September 2022.

Iran is one of the founding members of OPEC, which was established in 1960. Since the 1970s, Iran’s oil production has varied greatly. Iran’s oil production averaged more than 5.0 million b/d between 1972 and 1978, and production topped 6.0 million b/d in 1974.

Iran ranks 12th in the world for oil consumption, accounting for about 1.9% of the world’s total consumption of 97,103,871 barrels per day. Iran consumes 0.95 gallons of oil per capita every day (based on the 2016 population of 79,563,989 people), or 348 gallons per capita per year (8 barrels).

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