Iran’s oil minister not aware of any new swap deals

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. Mar. 1

By Rahim Zamanov - Trend:

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on March 1 that he is not aware of any new swap deals with neighboring countries, Iran's ISNA News Agency reported.

However, he went on to note that he has ordered the ministry officials to continue oil swaps under certain conditions.

Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Mansour Mo'azzami had previously told ISNA that Iran has lost its old swap markets.

"Iran's previous administration did not fulfill its obligations, so the customers cancelled the oil swap contracts and turned to other countries in order to meet their demands," he explained.

According to ISNA, Iran's oil swaps have been halted for over three years.

Meanwhile, under the US-led sanctions against Iran's oil industry, oil swaps could play a vital role for Iran's economy.

Managing director of the National Iranian Oil Refining & Distribution Company, Abbas Kazemi, told SHANA News Agency on Jan. 3 that Iran plans to increase oil product swaps with its neighbors to prevent fuel smuggling.

He went on to say that Iran is interested in increasing a swap with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Oil and oil product swap deals with neighboring countries were repeatedly suspended during the administration of ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013).

Early in June, Mehr News Agency quoted former director of the National Iranian Oil Company Ahmad Qalebani as saying Iran currently has the capacity to swap 500,000 barrels of oil each day.

The country also plans to swap one million barrels of oil in the near future, he added.

"Unfortunately, to date the country is not using its oil swap capacity at all," Qalebani explained.

Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) Mostafa Kashkouli said last March that Iran plans to increase the volume of its oil products swap by 30 percent in the current Iranian year (ending March 20, 2014).

Kashkouli said Iran swapped more than 100,000 tons of oil products in the previous year and planned to boost its swap volume.

"The swap of oil products including gasoline, diesel and liquefied natural gas (LNG), will increase by 30 percent this year compared to the previous year," he said.

He also added that in the previous year, the main part of Iran's oil product exports fell to diesel which was delivered to such neighboring countries as Iraq and Afghanistan.

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