Iranian oil tanker in Egypt's Great Bitter Lake after running aground in Suez Canal: Platts cFlow
3rd February 2021 05:31 GMT

An Iranian oil tanker carrying a 650,000-barrel crude cargo that ran aground Feb. 1 in the Suez Canal is now anchored in the Great Bitter Lake, according to Platts cFlow trade-flow software data and shipping sources Feb. 2.

The Aframax Sahra ran aground due to engine trouble around Km 123 of the Suez Canal while transiting from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, at about 1340 local time (1140 GMT) . The tanker is now anchored at the Great Bitter Lake, according to Platts cFlow.

"Suez Canal tugs were engaged to refloat the ship," said shipping and logistics company GAC in its latest port update. "The grounded vessel was the last one in the Northbound convoy. No other vessels in the Northbound convoy were detained. However, all vessels in the southbound convoy were stopped until the Canal was cleared."

Sources said the tanker was on its way to discharge a cargo through ship-to ship transfer facilities in the Mediterranean. Iran has continued to export crude to Syria in the past few years, as it has struggled to sell its oil to regular customers due to the US sanctions.

A representative at state-owned National Iranian Tanker Co, was unavailable for comment.


Recovery plan


Iranian oil flows have nosedived in the past two years due to US sanctions, crippling the country's oil export revenues.

But Iranian crude and condensate exports have started to rise in recent months as it pins its hopes on the new US administration lifting sanctions.

Iran’s crude and condensate exports, which averaged more than 1.7 million b/d in March 2019, slumped to around 800,000 b/d in recent months, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.

The Iranian government is eyeing exports of 2.3 million b/d of crude in its next year that starts March 21.

Last month, Conservative Member of Parliament Elias Naderan, who heads up Iran’s budget committee, said the country’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh had notified them that Iran’s crude oil exports had recently averaged 900,000 b/d.

Iranian oil exports were as high as 2.6 million b/d in May 2018 when the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

Platts Analytics expects the US and Iran to reach a framework agreement to restore the 2015 nuclear deal as early as Q2 2021, with Iranian crude supply to grow by 1 million b/d between February and December.

“This alone will not trigger relief from secondary oil export sanctions, as the US will likely demand Iran first return to JCPOA compliance, but implementation and unrestricted Iranian exports are assumed by Q4,” Platts Analytics said in a recent research note.

Platts ,
3rd February 2021 05:31 GMT