Iran’s state-affiliated Tasnim News Agency reported a significant increase in the nation’s crude oil production output in October, reaching 3.115 million barrels per day (bpd). This surge in production and continued growth in the oil industry can be attributed to the temporary lifting of oil and gas sanctions on Venezuela’s socialist regime by the Biden Administration. Iran sees Venezuela not only as an ideological ally but also as a lucrative business partner in joint ventures.
The Tehran Times also confirmed the upward trend by stating that Iran’s average crude oil output for the third quarter of 2023 was 2.996 million bpd, marking a substantial increase of 298,000 bpd compared to the same period in 2022. Over the past three years, Iran’s oil production has experienced a steady surge, with an average output of 2.392 million bpd in 2021.
Despite Iran’s status as the world’s leading financial backer of terrorism, which includes funneling funds to the Sunni jihadist organization Hamas, the increased profits from the booming oil industry may potentially further fund terrorism.
Tasnim’s report, based on data from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), highlighted that Iran’s oil output in October represented a 46,000 bpd increase compared to September. This increase solidifies Iran’s position as the third-largest oil producer among OPEC members.
The relief of oil sanctions to Venezuela has opened up opportunities for Iran to expand its influence in the South American nation. Iran has become one of the top business partners of the Maduro regime, providing technical and logistical assistance in repairing and renovating Venezuela’s rundown oil refineries. Additionally, Iran has started refining its own crude oil in Venezuela’s refurbished refineries, reducing Venezuela’s reliance on US-made technology.
Moreover, Iran, Venezuela, and Syria are jointly planning to build an oil refinery in the Syrian town of Homs. If successful, this refinery could process 140,000 barrels per day, boosting production and yielding further profits for the three authoritarian regimes.
Furthermore, Iran’s increased oil output has led to record-high oil exports to its top customer, China. Chinese imports of Iranian oil saw a 60% increase between January and October, with an average of 1.05 million barrels per day purchased. In October alone, China bought an estimated 1.45 million barrels per day, reaching the highest monthly level ever recorded.
In conclusion, Iran’s oil industry is thriving due to Biden’s sanctions relief to Venezuela. The surge in production, profits, and exports indicates the country’s increasing influence in the international oil market, while also raising concerns about the potential use of funds to support terrorism.