Iranian oil backlog

Iran, under sanctions, can’t sell its oil. Nor does it have anywhere to put it — the country has continued production, using up all storage capacity. So it’s down to the last resort: tankers.

Iran has insufficient space to store the crude it cannot sell. So while it furiously works to build storage capacity on shore, it has turned to mothballing at sea.


The unsold crude is being stored in what has been estimated to be two-thirds of the Iranian tanker fleet. Most of the ships are sailing in circles around the Persian Gulf as Iran tries to sell the mostly heavy crude at bargain-basement prices.

International oil experts estimate that Iran is now warehousing as much as 40 million barrels — roughly two weeks of production — on the tankers. An additional 10 million barrels are in storage on shore.

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