EU lifts ban on tankers transporting Iranian crude

By VCPOST Staff Reporter

Nov 24, 2013 09:55 PM EST

The European Union (EU) has lifted the ban on insuring tankers carrying Iranian crude following a nuclear deal reached in Geneva today. EU has banned oil imports since July 2012.

Indian refiners told Bloomberg that the move will ease the process of importing the Persian Gulf state's oil.

According to the report, the insurance restrictions affected about 95% of the global tanker fleet since ships were covered by European law. Under the rules, ships transporting Iranian oil would invalidate its insurance against risks including spills and collisions.

Japan's government started providing sovereign cover for its tanker operators, while India was looking into an INR20 billion (USD320 million) fund to help cover imports, Bloomberg said.

Today, only six remained from the 23 Iranian crude importers in 2012. These included China, India, South Korea, Japan, Turkey and Tawain, said United States officials.

Bloomberg, citing a statement from the White House, said that the lifting of the EU ban is a part of a first-step agreement that will give Iran as much as USD7 billion in relief from economic sanctions over six months.

The EU agreed to release USD4.2 billion in forzen oil assets and let Iranian oil exports continue at current levels in exchange for limiting its nuclear program, the report said.

However, this won't mean an increase in shipments after Iranian oil exportation have been cut by 60% in 2012, the US government statement said.

Iranian oil importers Indian Oil Corp., Hindustan Petroleum Corp. and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. said that the removal of the EU ban will enable them to purchase contracted volumes more easily. However, they do not intend to buy more than what was previously planned, Bloomberg reported.  

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