Total oil debts to Iran exceeds $ 4 bln

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 20

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

An official with the Iran's oil ministry has confirmed that the country's international oil buyers owe over $4 billion to the Islamic Republic.

Director of the International Affairs Department at National Iranian Oil Company Mohsen Ghamsari has announced that among the European countries which were buying oil from Iran before the sanctions, Greece has not still paid its debts to the country, Iran's SHANA news agency reported on May 20.

Ghamsari went on to say that Royal Dutch Shell also has not settled its debts without unveiling further details.

Previously Iranian media outlets reported that the country's oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has tasked a working group with collecting $2.3 billion debt from Royal Dutch Shell.

Shell lost money trading Iranian crude in 2012 shortly before a European Union embargo and still owes $2.3 billion to Tehran for oil purchases.

Under a six-month interim deal between Iran and the P5+1(the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) which took effect on Jan. 20, Iran won access to $4.2 billion of its oil revenues frozen abroad by eight money-transfer schedules through July if it carried out its part of the deal to curb its nuclear program.

The country has received some $2.55 billion of the frozen oil funds so far.

Iran is ready to resume oil export to EU

Ghamsari underlined that excluding Turkey, Iran is not exporting to the European countries currently, however the Islamic Republic is ready to resume its crude exports to Europe if "they resolve their problems."

He went on to say that the maximum level of Iran's crude exports to European countries including Turkey before sanctions was about 900,000 barrels per day (bpd).

For the time being Iran exports about 100,000 to 115,000 bpd of crude to Turkey, he added.

Iran's contract with Turkey is evergreen, he said, adding that the Islamic Republic has evergreen contracts also with China, India, Japan and South Korea.

An Evergreen contract is an agreement between two parties that is automatically renewed (rolled over) after each completion- or maturity period, until canceled by either party.

Ghamsari also noted that India and China are the main buyers of Iran's crude.

Iran's current average crude exports is less than 1 million barrels a day which is set under the interim nuclear deal, he underlined.

He also said that Iran's daily crude output should be about 3.5 million barrels per day according to the oil ministry's plan. The country currently has the capacity to produce the crude oil in the targeted level, the official stressed.

Future of Iran's crude exports depends on nuclear deal

Commenting on the future of the Iran's oil exports Ghamsari said that it depends on the results of the ongoing nuclear talks.

Steady decline in Iran's oil exports has been stopped, he said, adding that Iran's crude exports during the current year compared to the preceding year "if not better, not worse."

Iran's oil exports dropped for a second month in April, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said, moving closer to levels allowed by Geneva interim deal.

Global imports of Iranian crude in April averaged 1.11 million barrels per day the IEA said in its monthly Oil Market Report released on May 15, down 180,000 bpd from March.

"Imports of Iranian crude reached a 20-month high of 1.58 million barrels per day in February but have since edged lower," the IEA said in the report.

By holding 157 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil reserves, Iran possesses the world's fourth largest reserves of crude oil.

Edited by C.N.

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