Iranian state media reported Friday a batch of Iran’s oil purchased by Belarus was docked at the Port of Odessa and in the processing steps for refining.
The official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that a tanker carrying 600,000 barrels of oil arrived in southern Ukraine for deliveries to the market in Belarus. A Belarusian official was quoted as saying the oil was discharged already from the tanker and slated for processing at the nation’s Mozyr oil refinery.
After clearing a debt load to its Iranian counterparts in early 2016, Royal Dutch Shell become one of the first companies to buy Iranian crude oil in the post-sanctions era. About 130,000 tons, or roughly 953,000 barrels, of oil was loaded for Shell at a terminal on the Persian Gulf in June.
Iran secured sanctions relief as part of a multilateral agreement to scale back its nuclear ambitions. A member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, it’s the only one with room for production growth under a deal meant to offset supply-side pressures that are weighing on crude oil prices.
Iran has been opening its economic doors to potential investors after so-called Implementation Day, when the country was verified as meeting the terms of a U.N.-backed nuclear agreement, passed in January 2016. The Central Bank of Iran said it could work with European partners after bank restrictions were lifted.
Belarus is a close ally with Russia. Iran and Russia in February reviewed the terms of a 2014 deal to swap oil for goods, with Russia considering an arrangement for 100,000 barrels of oil per day from Iran.
The Iranian Oil Ministry in January published a list of 29 foreign oil and gas companies that are qualified to take part in any upcoming tenders for exploration and production. European companies like OMV and French supermajor Total waded into the Iranian energy sector early by signing agreements last year.
By Daniel J. Graeber