Dalga Khatinoglu, Trend Agency's Iran News Service Head/
Addressing IRGC commanders on September 16, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani announced that the country's crude oil exports have dropped to below one million barrels per day (bpd).
Meanwhile, OPEC has recently released its September report, which includes information about Iran's crude oil output. This is the first report of Iran's Oil Ministry to OPEC in Rouhani administration.
Based on Iran's Oil Ministry data (direct communication), OPEC has said that Iran produced 3.717 million bpd in August. But, OPEC's own assessment (secondary sources) puts the figure at 2.683 million bpd, ranking Iran as the fifth leading producer in OPEC.
On September 12, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that Iran produced 2.680 million barrels of oil per day in August and exported 985,000 bpd, up 100,000 bpd compared to July.
Considering that Iran's oil refining capacity is less than 1.7 million bpd, and that the country's crude oil exports volume has fallen to below one million bpd, Iran could not have produced over 2.68 million bpd.
Official statistics which have been announced by Iran about its crude oil production during the incumbency of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been significantly higher than estimations by OPEC and other related international bodies.
Although the administration and the parliament have confessed the country's oil exports volume has dropped by a half since 2012, they however deny the reality in their official reports and call OPEC data unreal.
For example, Mansour Mo'azami, caretaker of oil ministry's trade and international affairs department told ILNA News Agency on September 16 that Iran is still OPEC's second top member in terms of quota and production capacity.
"I reject OPEC's report which puts Iran in the 5th place after Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates," he said.
OPEC's statistics which are based on secondary sources indicates the organization's evaluation of the members' real output, not their production capacity.
For example, Saudi Arabia's production capacity is over 12 million barrels per day, but the OPEC report says that the country's output was 9.96 million barrels per day in August.
Mohammad Ali Khatibi, Iran's former representative to OPEC, also seconded the claim.
"The U.S. Energy Information Administration released a report two weeks ago which shows that despite international sanctions Iran is still OPEC's second top oil producer next to Saudi Arabia," he told ILNA News Agency.
The report that Khatibi mentioned was released on May 28. The report says that "In 2012, Iran produced approximately 3.5 million barrels per day of total liquids, of which roughly 3.0 million barrel per day was crude oil".
OPEC's evaluation also suggests that Iran's crude oil production in the previous year was around 2.975 million barrels per day.
OPEC also says that the figure has shrank to 2.683 million barrels per day in the current year, which makes Iran the fifth biggest producer of the organization after Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.