Iran, which faces tightening sanctions on its oil industry aimed at halting development of its nuclear programme, is looking to export more gas to India and Pakistan to make up for a fall in crude exports, a National Iranian Oil Company official said.
"We are trying to compensate [for] the less [oil] export," NIOC's managing director for research and technology, Mohammad Ali Emadi told reporters at a Moscow conference on Wednesday.
"We are in negotiation with Pakistan and India to increase export of natural gas."
Customers in Europe and Asia have been scaling back purchases of Iranian crude ahead of European Union bans on imports and tanker insurance for ships carrying Iranian crude that are due to come into effect on 1 July.
Crude exports of Iran had dropped to 1.2-1.3 million barrels per day by the middle of last week, oil company sources and a firm that tracks oil shipments said.
"It was 20 to 30 per cent we reduce regarding to our export," Emadi told reporters in English. "Some part of the reduction is shifting for the refinery internally."
"We gradually started to reduce [oil exports]. It is not because of the sanctions but sometime regarding overhaul maintenance of the wells," he said. "Normally we export 2.2 million. And 4.1 (million bpd) was oil production."