SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) – Italian oil giant Eni SpA took delivery of what is believed to be the first tanker of Iranian oil to Italy in two years in July as part of an existing exemption agreement.
The move underscores a slight easing in heavily restricted trade between Iran and the West following an interim nuclear agreement in November 2013, Wall Street Journal reported.
According to WSJ, the delivery was made as part of an exemption clause in the European Union’s ban on Iranian oil that was granted to Eni as part of a debt repayment.
Italy’s refiners’ association Unione Petrolifera confirmed the shipment—equivalent to a tanker of 600,000 barrels—in its latest report published on its website at an undisclosed date.
Director of International Relations of the Oil Ministry Seyed Mohsen Qamsari Friday confirmed the shipment to Italy but denied that Iran owed 2 billion dollars to Eni.
The official did not give more details but just said ‘the figure $2 bn is not confirmed.’
According to WSJ, in 2012, Iran owed $2-billion-worth of crude oil for services rendered on the development of an Iranian oil field.
Eni had previously struggled to find tankers to take Iranian oil because of broader sanctions against the country, it said.
In its monthly oil market report, the International Energy Agency said Italy had imported 20,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in July. The delivery is the first since June 2012—that came on the eve of an EU embargo which started the following month.
Although small, the news comes just as Iran has boosted its oil exports to Asia after sanctions eased on the country following November’s interim deal.
Global powers and Iran have set late November as the deadline for reaching a final agreement that aims to roll back key parts of Iran’s nuclear program in return for an easing of international sanctions.
Earlier in October, the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) was removed from the sanctions list by the European Union and the UK treasury. However, broad sanctions on the oil industry persist.