Iran's oil tanker fleet started enabled vessel tracking systems in a signal to customers that it's ready to return to world markets barely 48 hours after Tehran agreed on an interim deal on November 24 to restrict its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, Thomson Reuters data revealed.
Before the deal's announcement in Geneva, more than 50-75 percent of National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC) tankers were seen to have their transponders turned off, according to information provided by Thomson Reuters Oil Analytics.
(Read more: Iran puts out the welcome mat for Big Oil)
But just days after the deal was struck, only eight out of 39 NITC tankers - or 21 percent of the fleet - had their tracking systems disabled as of 0330 GMT on Nov. 26, implying "that NITC is gearing up to bring its oil export operations back to pre-sanction levels," Thomson Reuters Oil Analytics' Yaw Yan Chong and Luke Pachymuthu said in a commentary on Nov. 26.
Thomson Reuters Oil Analytics believe Iran is most likely signaling a willingness to export more fuel oil – a feedstock used mainly by China's small, independent 'teapot' refiners which make up more than a quarter of the country's refining capacity.