MT Seeb iranian VLCC supertanker

MT SEEB, an Iranian-owned Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC). She collided with a containership off Singapore in early January 2012. Click the image for the full story.

LONDON (Dow Jones)–The number of Iranian supertankers storing crude long term rose this week, data from major brokerage ICAP showed Friday.

Three NITC vessels, capable of storing 2 million barrels of crude oil each, are now storing crude long term, up from two last week, the data showed. The number of tankers storing crude short term–for a month or less–also rose to three from two.

It is still early to conclude that Iran is increasing its floating storage, as the tankers could be sold at any time, but further builds next week could make things more interesting, an analyst at ICAP said.

Increasingly tight sanctions against the Islamic Republic are making it more and more difficult for it to export its crude.

Earlier this week, China said it cut its imports of Iranian crude 40% in February, while a report published earlier Friday said that exports of Iranian oil are expected to drop by 300,000 barrels a day this month.

-By Sarah Kent, Dow Jones Newswires

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