* Oct exports to drop 1.5 pct from 5-year high hit in Sept
* India set to top China as No.1 Iran buyer with record
* Hungary, Portugal buy from Iran 1st time since sanctions
By Osamu Tsukimori
TOKYO, Oct 18 Iran's October crude and
condensate exports are set to hold near five-year highs hit in
September, a source with knowledge of its preliminary tanker
schedule said, reflecting Tehran's success in boosting shipments
after Western sanctions were lifted.
The No. 3 OPEC producer is producing around 4.5 million
barrels per day (bpd) of crude and ultra light oil condensate,
according to local oil officials, while it has just about
doubled its total exports since sanctions targeting its nuclear
programme were lifted in January.
Iran is seeking to raise its crude and condensate production
to more than 5 million bpd by 2020, with its deputy oil minister
saying on Monday that Iran's output was now almost sufficient to
agree to the group limit planned last month by the Organization
of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Iran's October crude oil and condensate exports are set at
2.56 million bpd, according to the preliminary tanker schedule,
down from 2.60 million bpd in September.
The September exports - which some sources put as high as
2.8 million bpd - were the most since mid-2011, and compare with
just under 2.5 million bpd in August.
September exports were boosted both by heavy demand for
condensate, a light oil excluded from OPEC supply quotas that is
often produced with natural gas, and by China's biggest monthly
buys of the year at 744,000 bpd, which offset a 23 percent
decline in loadings headed for Europe.
Crude shipments in October are set for a three-month low of
2 million bpd, but exports of condensate are expected to rise 22
percent from September to 559,000 bpd - excluding barrels loaded
out of storage - the highest volume since sanctions were lifted.
Iran's crude and condensate exports to Asia in October are
likely to total 1.83 million bpd, down from 1.96 million bpd in
September, but still more than double from a year earlier.
INDIA EYES RECORD HIGH LOADING
Loadings headed for India will likely reach 736,000 bpd this
month, a record high according to data stretching back at least
15 years, and up from 641,000 bpd in September. The shipments to
India this month will top 495,000 bpd to be loaded for China,
which is taking its lowest volume so far for this year.
South Korea is set to load 379,000 bpd in October, up 35
percent from the previous month, and the highest import volume
since January 2000, according to the schedule and South Korean
import data. Japan is lifting 225,000 bpd, down from 231,000 bpd
Total exports to Europe are about 613,000 bpd this month, up
from 481,000 bpd last month. In the Middle East, the United Arab
Emirates is scheduled to load about 111,000 bpd.
Portugal and Hungary are loading 1 million barrels each for
the month, marking their first shipments since the sanctions
Turkey is lifting this year's high of 194,000 bpd in
October. Greece, Spain and Italy are also loading barrels.
(Additional reporting by Jane Chung; Editing by Tom Hogue)