0622 GMT October 14, 2019
Washington announced in May the end of sanctions waivers for foreign countries importing Iranian oil, Reuters reported.
It is vital for Tehran to keep oil flowing as any disruption would damage its future activities due to the high costs and complexities of restarting production.
Data from Kayrros, a company which tracks oil flows, showed onshore storage in Iran was 46.1 million barrels, from total capacity of 73 million barrels, its highest since mid-January.
Data based on AIS tracking by shipping intelligence platform MarineTraffic showed 16 Iranian tankers, holding some 20 million barrels, were estimated to be used for floating storage after being stationary between two to four weeks.
Ten of those tankers with nearly 11 million barrels had been stationary for four weeks.
This compared with 12 Iranian tankers holding at least 13 million barrels of oil in March, which had been stationary from two to four weeks, MarineTraffic data showed.
Sources told Reuters in March that Iran was looking to bolster its fleet through discreet purchases of second-hand tankers after discussions for new ships stalled.
Shipbroker Gibson estimated eight Iranian supertankers, each capable of holding 2 million barrels, were being used to store oil plus two further ships, which were not Iranian.
“Apart from these vessels, of late there is indeed a rising trend of more Iranian tankers switching off their AIS trackers,” said Svetlana Lobaciova, senior market analyst with Gibson.
“However, at this stage we cannot say with any degree of certainty whether these units are simply sitting empty or storing or continuing to trade.”
Analytics company GlobalData said Iran had planned investment of around $900 million in capacity additions on new build storage projects between 2019 to 2023.
Iran plans to increase storage capacity from 69.1 million barrels in 2019 to 79.9 million barrels in 2023 at an average annual growth rate of 3.6 percent, according to GlobalData estimates.