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Sanctions May Cut Iran's Oil Output By 15 Percent

Sanctions May Cut Iran's Oil Output By 15 Percent

Iran oil output seen down 500,000 bpd by year-end; EIA lowers global oil demand estimates for 2012; EIA raises non-OPEC production forecast for 2012

April 11, 2012 10:09 by

Iran’s oil production could fall almost 15 percent this year due to reduced foreign investment, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday in a report highlighting the growing strain on Tehran’s oil sector even before factoring in the effect of new sanctions.

Iran’s production could fall by about 500,000 barrels per day by the end of 2012, the EIA said in its monthly Short Term Energy Outlook, from 3.55 million bpd at the end of last year, as many foreign companies have been forced out of the country by existing investment restrictions.

The forecast did not include the potential impact of recent European Union and U.S. sanctions that take effect in July and June and are expected to curtail exports from the OPEC nation.

“Iran’s decline in output began to accelerate during the last quarter of 2011 and has continued. EIA believes that the acceleration reflects a lack of investment, which is needed to offset natural production declines,” the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy said.

“A number of foreign companies that were investing in Iran’s upstream have halted their activities as a result of previous sanctions against Iran.”

Despite the loss of Iranian oil, the EIA expects markets to loosen this year. The EIA now forecasts global consumption will average 88.81 million bpd in 2012, compared with last month’s projection for demand of 88.96 million bpd.

Total global production, including OPEC and non-OPEC producers, is expected to average 88.97 million bpd, up from forecasts of 88.71 million bpd in March.

The EIA raised its forecast of 2012 non-OPEC output growth by 150,000 barrels per day to 840,000 bpd, while lowering its forecast for global demand growth by 170,000 bpd to 890,000 bpd. Non-OPEC production is expected to average 52.67 million bpd in 2012, up from the March forecast of 52.46 million bpd.

Retail gasoline prices in the United States are expected to peak at a national average of $4.01 a gallon in May, the EIA said, up from a forecast of $3.96 in last month’s report.

(Reporting by David Sheppard andMatthew Robinson in New York; Additional reporting Joshua Schneyer; Editing by Dale Hudson and Lisa Von Ahn)

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