Economic pressure can compel Tehran to moderate its destructive behavior and end its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Crude and natural gas exports historically account for 25% of government revenues: it is therefore important to accurately track Iran’s oil exports to interpret if sanctions are effectively stopping the flow of revenue to the regime.
This can be difficult given the regime’s track-record of smuggling and sanctions evasion techniques and there is little consensus among oil tracking agencies about how much is getting through, and to where.
This variance mars the accuracy of media reports, but it also presents a serious challenge to those trying to get a handle on the trajectory of the Iranian economy, given its oil revenue dependency.
More importantly, a correct accounting of quantities and destinations will help focus limited resources to where they are really needed: which shippers, which vessels, which areas, which ports, which flags, which insurers.
UANI has therefore sought to address the information gap with a new comprehensive ship-tracking methodology.
Using Automatic Identification System (AIS), satellite imagery, vessel comparison and tanker classification, and cargo datasets to uncover all under-the-radar ship-to-ship (STS) transfers and exports of Iranian oil and gas condensates, we generate what we contend are the most accurate figures available.
This resource seeks to disrupt Iran’s attempts to generate profits from oil sales and further isolate the regime economically.
As Europe increasingly shuns Russian oil in response to its invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has tried to get its Chinese ally to take up the slack. The world’s third biggest oil supplier is already China’s top provider, supplying 15% of total imports at 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd).
Half of that is currently supplied via major government-contracted pipelines, especially the key Transneft-operated Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline, the second-longest in the world. Read more
Four years of UANI Tanker Tracker data are punctuated by three key dates, all leading to significant sustained changes in total Iranian oil exports when looking at all destinations: 1) May 8, 2018 (the announcement that the U.S. would withdraw from the JCPOA); 2) May 2, 2019 (the end of U.S. oil waivers on all countries), and; 3) January 21, 2021 (the start of the Biden Presidency).
…On Monday afternoon a Dynacom-owned tanker Ice Energy (IMO: 9301732) started a ship-to-ship transfer with the Lana in Greek waters four miles off the coast of Karistos. The operation, first reported by US lobby group United Against Iran on Twitter, was verified using Lloyd's List Intelligence data. Lloyd’s List understands that the George Procopiou-controlled tanker has been chartered by the US Department of Justice to transfer the oil to the US. The US Department of Justice was not available to comment on the operation. The US practice of seizing sanctioned cargos from vessels has proved controversial inside the maritime insurance community and sparked several legal challenges in similar cases.