Iran says ready for rapid resumption of oil exports to Europe
Iran said on Sunday it can start immediate exports of crude oil to Europe as soon as the economic sanctions against the country are lifted after the signing of a much-awaited nuclear agreement with P5+1.
Mohsen Qamsari, the director for international affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said Iran can ship almost half of the supplies of oil that it provided to the European market before.
This, Qamsari said, will be carried out through spot deals until the European clients finish their existing annual import contracts and are ready for new contracts.
He said the Europeans have already voiced interest in resuming oil imports from Iran and emphasized that Iran can increase exports to pre-sanctions levels “provided that the Europeans are ready for it.”
Qamsari told IRNA that Iran is trying to sell its oil in all markets, but added that Asia will continue to be Iran’s top priority market.
Iran is currently negotiating with P5+1 over a final nuclear agreement that envisages the lifting of certain economic sanctions against Iran in return for certain moves by the country to restrict some of its nuclear energy activities. The sides have until the end of June to sign the agreement.
A key area of sanctions that are expected to be removed – if Iran and P5+1 reach the final deal – are those that ban purchasing crude oil from the country. This has literally put a ceiling of around 1 million barrels per day for Iran’s sales of oil.
The European Union in 2012 banned purchases of oil from Iran. This turned the tap of Iran’s oil on countries like Greece, Italy and Spain.
Several other non-Europeans later also abandoned their oil purchase orders with Iran. They included Sri Lanka, South Africa and Malaysia.
Presently, only China, India, Turkey, Japan and South Korea are buying Iran’s oil within the frameworks of a preliminary nuclear agreement reached between Iran and P5+1 in Geneva in 2013.
Qamsari had said last month that Tehran has already started talks with Asian and European refineries in a bid to increase its market share.
He also said NIOC has special plans for boosting oil exports after the US-engineered sanctions against Iran are lifted.
Iran’s current oil production is estimated to be around 2.7 million barrels per day but officials have already emphasized that the country would increase production by an extra 1 million barrels per day in a post-sanctions era.