The EU's six-month suspension of its ban on insurance for shipments of Iranian oil and lifting of curbs on petrochemicals trade does not include natural gas and gas products such as LPG, an EU Council spokeswoman said Wednesday, Platts reported.
"LPG -- as in butane and propane -- are considered gas products by the EU and therefore remain banned under EU sanctions imposed on natural gas and gas products in 2012," she said.
"Only petrochemicals listed in Annex V of the EU sanctions imposed in 2012 are affected by the suspensions, which took effect on Monday."
Industry sources had also earlier told Platts that LPG, typically considered a petrochemical or refined oil product, is still banned from transports and imports as part of the EU sanctions as it is categorized as a gas product in the EU sanctions list.
As the European petrochemicals industry faces up to the harsh realities of weak fundamentals, high costs and low margins, the European Petrochemicals Conference will explore the strategies that producers can put in place to help overcome low demand, adapt to current market conditions and remain competitive long-term.
The EU on Monday amended a key part of its Iranian sanctions package imposed in July 2012 by lifting its ban on the provision of insurance for tankers carrying Iranian crude oil as well as its ban on the import, purchase or transportation of Iranian petrochemical products and related services.
However, the sources said the EU did not revise Regulation 1263/2012 Article 14 a, which lists butane and propane as banned products.
The petrochemical sanctions are listed in Article 13 of Annex V of EU Council regulation 267/2012 of March 2012.
But the continued restrictions will not stop the flow of propane and butane from the Middle Eastern producer, which has continued to export some volumes on a CFR basis due to its access to a growing fleet of very large gas carriers, trade sources said.
Around eight VLGCs have been acquired by Chinese companies or firms registered in the UAE which have business dealings with Iranian exporters, sources said previously.
These ships are among several others that have been moving Iranian LPG to East Asia, particularly China and South Korea, since shipments resumed in May after an eight-month halt due to an EU ban on shipping insurance for Iranian propane and butane, the sources said.