Iranian seaborne exports pushed new highs in April, finishing at a sizable 2,760 kbd, higher 209 kbd m/m and 535 kbd y/y. Shipments towards India realized the largest m/m increase at 121 kbd to end April at 604 kbd, with additional export volumes to China (740 kbd), South Korea (257 kbd), Italy (175 kbd) and France(103 kbd). Following a gap in loadings for the month of March, flows towards Japan also resumed in April, ending at 218 kbd, marking a return to February levels.
South Pars Condensate loadings finished the month at 261 kbd, lower 80 kbd m/m. Late last week, we indicated the possibility that condensate exports could finish higher m/m contingent on the VLCCs Yuan Chun Hu and Dover. In the end, the Yuan Chun Hu ended up co-loading 1.58 million barrels of normal Iranian crude alongside 252,000 barrels of South Pars Condensate. The Dover was unable to load at all in April. In total, Condensate shipments to South Korea dominated at 142 kbd, while additional volumes were shipped towards the UAE (77 kbd), Japan (23 kbd) and China (8 kbd). There remains an additional 10 kbd that loaded in April aboard the Helen M that has yet to signal a destination.
Exports departing from Kharg Island continue to stage a comeback, ending the month of April at 2,170 kbd, an increase of nearly 500 kbd since shipments bottomed out in January. Kharg Island has been the key point for driving marginal monthly changes in seaborne loadings for Iran so far through 2018. Small crude volumes also departed from Sirri (95 kbd), Soroosh (82 kbd) and Lavan (24 kbd) among others.
The overall strength in Iranian shipments for April was driven in part by two things. First, Iranian short-term floating storage, which built to just over 4 million barrels through mid-April fell to nil through the end of the month. The decrease was driven by the VLCCs Dan and Deep Sea, both of which discharged their respective loads through ship-to-ship transfer after sitting idle since early-March. Iranian refinery maintenance also ticked higher in April, freeing up additional crude volumes for export.