EU economic adviser: Statoil and Eni refuse to resume swap agreement with Iran
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 1 /Trend, T.Konyayeva/
Iran has appealed to two major European companies with a proposal to purchase Iranian oil with a good discount, but they refused, citing a lack of opportunities to make a payment for it, said economic adviser to the European Union Mehrdad Emadi.
"The European companies were involved in the swap-operations with Iran, but they are not longer. They have pulled out, Emadi told Trend in a telephone conversation from London. - The Iranian side has contacted both Norwegian Statoil and Italian Eni. Though the initial discount offered by Iran actually was quite attractive both in terms of time of payment and price, both these companies said they could not continue. They were not able to find the way to make a payment."
Iran received 300,000 barrels of oil from the Caspian littoral states in mid-July and will transfer it to Persian Gulf terminals in 90 days, SHANA reported quoting Managing Director of National Iranian Oil Company Ahmad Ghalebani as saying.
After 13 years of oil swap with Caspian littoral countries to Persian Gulf via Iran, four major foreign companies - Germany's Select Energy Trading, Dragon Oil Emirate, Swiss Vitol and Ireland's Caspian Oil Development - refused to update oil swap agreement in April 2010 and Iran's crude oil swap rate dropped to zero.
From 1997 to 2010 Iran profited $146 million from the oil swap operations ($1 per barrel). Earlier, the country announced suspension of operations because of the lack of economic benefits and to protect its national interests.
Iran's refusal to abandon its nuclear activities has resulted in resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in 2010, as well as additional unilateral sanctions approved by the U.S. Congress and the foreign ministers of all EU countries, which were primarily directed against the banking, financial and energy sectors of Iran.
International sanctions do not ban purchases of Iranian crude, but they pose obstacles for foreign banks to pay Iran the hard currency that makes up around 50 percent of government total revenue.
Since December, 2010, India and Iran tried to find ways for New Delhi to pay for imports of 400,000 barrels per day or 12 percent of its oil demand after the Reserve Bank of India halted a clearing mechanism under U.S. pressure. In August, the Indian oil companies paid first $1.43 billion for Iranian oil through Turkey's Khalkbank.
Later, on August 3, Korean government sources with direct knowledge of the situation told Iran could have nearly $5 billion of cash trapped in South Korea by the end of the year as sanctions stop it repatriating money from oil sales, Reuters reported.