0402 GMT February 18, 2019
"We can expect floating storage to increase under the impact of US sanctions in the coming months," Harry Tchilinguirian, the head of commodity-markets strategy at BNP Paribas SA, said from London, Bloomberg reported.
So far, most of the ships in question — all of which are Iranian owned — have only been holding crude at sea for a few weeks, rather than for months at a time as they did during 2012-2016 sanctions, tanker tracking compiled by Bloomberg show.
At least five full crude tankers have anchored off the Iranian coast over the past two-and-a-half weeks. Two more supertankers, or very large crude carriers (VLCC), joined them in the past three days, bringing the total volume of crude held on ships off Iran's ports to 13 million barrels.
Six of the tankers are anchored close to Kharg Island, while the seventh is further west near Iran's Soroosh terminal.
Two more vessels holding three million barrels of condensate — a light oil produced at Iran's natural gas fields — have been idling for weeks off Dubai.
In May, Trump pulled out of a 2015 pact that eased sanctions in return for Iran modification on its nuclear program, describing the deal as 'rotten to its core'.
Iran is not storing as much crude at sea as it did during previous sanctions, when tens of millions of barrels were held for months at a time.
Iran's pumped about 3.7 million barrels a day on average since sanctions eased at the start of 2016, more than one million barrels a day above what it was producing when sanctions were at their toughest.