Iran increased crude production by 187,800 barrels a day (b/d) in the first month after sanctions were lifted against its energy sector, according to estimates by oil exporters group Opec.
Opec estimated, based on secondary sources, that the Islamic Republics output rose to 3.13 million b/d in February, compared with 2.94 million b/d in January.
Annual crude production dropped from 3.7 million b/d in 2011 the year before new sanctions were introduced to 2.7 million b/d in 2012, before increasing slightly to 2.84 million b/d in 2015.
The February figure shows a sharp jump in crude production as Iran aims to ramp up exports to pre-sanctions levels. The Ministry of Petroleum is targeting an increase of 1 million b/d by the end of 2016.
Irans Petroleum Minister Bijan Zanganeh said recently that Tehran would join talks with other crude exporters to freeze production after its own output reached 4 million b/d, according to domestic media reports.
Despite the increase in Iranian production in February, overall Opec output dropped to 32.28 million b/d from the January level of 32.45 million b/d.
The decrease was driven by a sharp 263,200-b/d fall in Iraqi production thought to be from damage to the pipeline linking northern Iraq to Turkey a 49,200-b/d decline in UAE production, and a 94,200-b/d drop in Nigerian output.