Iran Ramping Up Oil, Product Export Activity Ahead of Sanctions Lift

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Monday September 21, 2015

Several reports have indicated that in recent weeks Iran has been significantly ramping up its oil and petroleum products export activity despite the fact that sanctions against the country have yet to actually be lifted, adding to speculation that once they are, already weak oil prices will come under further pressure.

According a Platts reportSouth Korea is set to increase crude and condensate imports from Iran back to levels not seen since sanctions were placed in 2012, with the country's vice-minister of trade, industry and energy Jae-do Moon having commented that many South Korean companies are "seeking more business opportunity with Iran."

"At the moment we do not have a specific target for crude oil imports from Iran," he said. 

"Because Korean companies used to trade with Iran for a certain amount before, once the trade is normalized at the company level, there could be room for improvement."

A rising number of condensate splitters has also reportedly led South Korean companies to focus on diversifying its supplies. 

"In order to ensure a stable supply of condensates, Korean refineries are paying greater attention to US condensates, as well as looking at Iranian condensates once the sanctions are lifted," Moon said. 

The comments by Moon came after a visit from a South Korean delegation to Iran in August, one of a string of visits from countries including Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and the UK that have come since a deal over sanctions was agreed between Iran and P5+1 global powers.

Separate reports suggest that Austria-based ROTH Oil Group has indicated that it would be resuming purchases of Iranian oil once sanctions are lifted, with the possibility of helping Iran sell its oil to the European markets. 

Meanwhile, Iran has also reportedly signed a deal to export diesel fuel to Iraq, which has turned Iran into a net exporter of gas oil for the first time, according to Nasser Sajjadi, managing director of National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company.

"The contract with Iraq has been finalised and the diesel export has already started," he was quoted last week as saying to state media. 

Earlier this year, it was also reported that Iran was in negotiation to export fuel oil with an unnamed Turkish company.