Iranian official: No petrochemical products stored on tankers

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 22/ Trend F.Milad/

For the time being there is no petrochemical product stored on tankers in the Persian Gulf, said the managing director of Iran's Maroun Petrochemical Company.

Rahim Sharif Mousavi added that the company's annual output is around 1.5 million tons, of which 40 per cent is supplied to international markets, the Mehr News Agency reported.

Iran has rejected the International Energy Agency's report claiming that the country has stored up to 30 million barrels of unsold crude oil on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

National Iranian Oil Company's director for international affairs Mohsen Qamsari told the Mehr News Agency that there is no stored oil without customers on Iranian tankers. The official said that 12 new tankers which have been recently purchased by the Iranian tanker fleet will not be used to store crude oil.

Iran's oil production remained steady at 3.3 million barrels a day in April, but 15 per cent to 25 per cent of that oil wasn't sold and had to be pumped into floating tanker storage, the IEA said, a process the country could continue for a couple of months before filling its storage and having to shut down fields, according to David Fyfe, head of the IEA's oil markets division.

However, traders and shipping data show that Iran's petrochemical exports have plunged nearly 90 per cent in the last two weeks.

That is because most shipping firms cannot get insurance to transport cargoes due to EU sanctions.

The sanctions banning European insurers and reinsurers from covering tankers carrying Iranian petrochemicals came into effect at the start of May.

Similar EU measures aimed at crude and oil products will start in July.

"Petrochemicals are definitely an indication of what could happen to crude, but I doubt the impact will be as strong," said Erik Nikolai Stavseth, a shipping analyst with Arctic Securities.

Shipping data confirmed a sharp drop in Iranian petrochemical exports which includes methanol, xylene and caustic soda, to around 60,000 tons a week in May from a weekly average of 350,000 tons last year.

However, Iran's deputy oil minister, Abdolhossein Bayat, told local media earlier this month that the country's petrochemical exports had not declined despite EU sanctions.

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