Iran's oil exports have fallen by hundreds of thousands of barrels a day this month, according to oil company Petro-Logistics, which indicates that the US sanctions that began to apply to Tehran earlier this month have alienated many buyers.
The Geneva-based company, which monitors oil supplies from OPEC member countries and other major exporters, said shipments fell sharply in early November as customers awaited clarification on whether the government would release any sanctions.
"Iranian oil exports in November fell a few hundred thousand barrels a day compared to October levels," Daniel Gerber, the company's chief executive, told Reuters.
"The low volumes we saw earlier this month were due to the reluctance of buyers to schedule shipments in anticipation of clarification on the exemption of sanctions."
Petro-Logistics did not provide a precise figure for November exports, but acknowledged that shipments have become more ambiguous since the sanctions came into effect this month.
Two other export watchers refused to announce November figures, but a fall of several hundred thousand barrels a day cuts Iran's oil exports this month to close to one million.
Barrels per day, according to industry estimates for October exports.
Kepler said Iran exported 1.85 million barrels a day (bpd) in October, while another company monitoring Iranian shipments said it exported 1.5 million bpd.
Other estimates for the current month's exports were lower, according to Recinitiv Haute shipment data to about 100,000 barrels per day from early November to now.
According to another source, exports totaled about 340,000 barrels a day in the first half of the month, but these figures do not count all carriers that have extinguished the electronic tracking system used on ships, making them "unobserved."
We think volumes increased last week, "Gerber said.
Exports begin to rise after November, thanks to exemptions from US sanctions for eight buyers, allowing them to import at least a little oil for 180 days.
Shipments dropped sharply to at least 2.5 million bpd in April before US President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the United States.
And it reinforces sanctions against Tehran.
Iran has vowed to continue exporting oil, despite US efforts to reduce shipments to zero.