By Nigar Abbasova
Iran is ready to resume with its northern neighbors a strategic crude oil swap, the scheme that was abandoned more than five years ago.
Director of Iran's North Oil Terminal, Hamid Reza Shahdoust announced about this while talking to IRNA on August 17. He added that preparations began at Neka oil terminal for oil swap based on order of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).
Under oil swap deals, which started in 1997, Iran received crude oil from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan through its North (Shomal) Oil Terminal on the Caspian coast. Iran's North Oil Terminal is engaged in oil swap and receiving crude oil from Caspian Sea littoral countries for storage, delivery, and crude refinery across Iran.
The Islamic Republic stopped oil swap with Caspian Sea littoral states --Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan -- in April 2010 after having swapped their oil for 13 years. The then NIOC officials noted that the measure was taken to prevent the country from becoming a buyer of Central Asian oil.
Shahdoust further said the country plans to increase the swap capacity with Caspian states from the current level of 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.5 million bpd.
Iran’s deputy oil minister for International Affairs Amir Hossein Zamaninia earlier said that resumption of oil swap is one of the plans pursued by the country, adding that the recent removal of international sanctions has increased the willingness of world’s giant oil and gas companies to cooperate with Iran, Mehr news agency reported.
“No swap is taking place at the present time though talks are in progress with Caspian Sea littoral states like Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia to resume crude oil swap,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mohsen Ghamsari, director of the International Affairs Department at National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said that Iran’s oil export reached 2.74 mbpd in July.
The Islamic Republic exported 2.1 million barrels of crude oil, as well as 600,000 barrels of gas condensate per day in July, Ghamsari said, SHANA news agency reported.
He further said Iran’s crude oil export enjoys a good level currently, but it is still below the pre-sanctions level, which was 2.35 mbpd. Under international sanctions, which extended into early 2016, Iran’s oil export dropped from 2.3 to 1 million barrels a day.
Nigar Abbasova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @nigyar_abbasova
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