Friday, December 28, 2012

Stabilization of Iranian Oil Production

I have updated my spreadsheet of Iranian production with all available data - that runs through November for JODI (direct reports), the IEA and OPEC (secondary sources), and through September for the US EIA.  The graph above summarizes the situation since 2000.  Note that there is fairly wide uncertainty about the level of Iranian production with different agencies giving widely different values. However, everyone except the Iranians themselves agreed that production had slid substantially since mid 2011 due to sanctions.

The big news in the last quarter of 2012 is that the Iranians seem to have arrested that slide and production has stabilized at a level about a million barrels/day below the level of 2009-2010.  We now have several months's data from several agencies showing this new lower plateau, so it doesn't seem to be a statistical artefact.

It will be interesting to see what 2013 brings.  I imagine the Iranians are going to continue to develop their nuclear program.  The US and Israel could, in principle, stop them through military means, but I don't know if the political will exists to do so.  I doubt the window for acting is too long and it's going to be a major black-eye for the current administrations in both countries if Iran tests a bomb on their watch.

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