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Europe refiners step up Iran oil imports

A tanker for Italy’s IPLOM is sailing back home after loading 1 million barrels of Iranian crude, the Reuters news agency said.

Another vessel for Motor Oil Hellas loaded crude at Iran’s Kharg Island on April 20 and is about to deliver the first post-sanctions cargo to the Greek refiner soon, it added.

France’s Total, Spain’s Cepsa and Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum became the first European companies to book Iranian crude for their refineries this year after the lifting of sanctions.

Others, including Italy’s Saras and ENI, have expressed interest in buying.

“Buyers are gradually finding ways to handle the issues with shipping insurance and banking transactions, which in the end are hurdles rather than insurmountable barriers,” Reuters quoted Richard Mallinson, an analyst with Energy Aspects, as saying.

“As more buyers join in we could see flows to Europe increase, which is certainly a goal for Iran,” he added.

In Asia, Iran’s key Indian client Essar Oil shipped in 204,500 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Iran last month, a jump of 66.3% from February, Reuters said.

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