Iran starts selling oil through its Energy Bourse


Iran has started direct sales of oil to domestic and international buyers through its energy bourse in what appears to be a landmark strategy to dodge the impacts of returning sanctions. 

Buyers were able to purchase as much as 280,000 barrels of Iran’s light oil at an average price of $74.85 in the first day of trading, according to a report by Iran’s state news agency IRNA.

They would have to pay 20 percent of the total value of their purchases in Iran’s national currency – the Rial. The remaining payments would need to be made in foreign currencies after loading.

The base price set by the Ministry of Petroleum stood at $79.15 per barrel, other reports added.

Seyyed Ali Hosseini, the managing director of Iran’s Energy Bourse, said sales of oil would be carried out at least once a week.

The administration of US President Donald Trump is preparing to launch the second wave of sanctions against Iran from November 4 in which a universal ban on the country’s oil exports appears to be a primary objective.

US officials have already said the sanctions would be meant to bring down Iran’s oil exports to zero. However, Iranian officials have repeatedly rejected the feasibility of this, stressing that international consumers cannot afford to lose Iranian supplies.

Iran’s First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri was quoted by media as saying that the government of President Hassan Rouhani had already devised mechanisms to counter the impacts of returning US sanctions against the country’s oil exports.

Jahangiri emphasized that Iran had serious plans to maintain oil exports above one million barrels per day.

Although Iran is hopeful that selling oil through the Energy Bourse would help it counter the sanctions, experts believe the plan would not be free from challenges.

Manouchehr Takin, a senior analyst at the Center for Global Energy Studies in London, told Press TV that Iran would have to deal with technicalities that emerge from the shipments of oil as well as payments in foreign currencies other than the greenback.

A total of one million barrels were put up for the grabs at the start of trading on Sunday, IRNA added. The purchases were made in eight cargoes by three companies, it added without providing further details.

Buyers would have to pay 10 percent of the value of their purchases in Rials two hours before the start of trading.  They can either buy 35,000 barrels of oil or a multiplication of this up to a ceiling of one million barrels.

Hosseini was quoted by media as saying that there is no restriction for the participation of buyers in Iran’s oil sales.

He further emphasized that the names and details of buyers would be confidential according to the rules of Iran’s Energy Bourse.

Nevertheless, there have been speculations in Iran’s media that certain trading companies affiliated to Iran’s leading banks as well as some law firms have bid for purchases of Iran’s oil.

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