Iran is loading 4 million barrels of oil for shipment to France, Russia and Spain, the first delivery to European buyers since sanctions were lifted on the country.
“Within 24 hours, four million barrels of Iran’s crude oil will be loaded on three tankers destined for Europe,” Rokneddin Javadi, CEO of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said on Saturday.
He added that France’s energy giant Total will take delivery of 2 million barrels and the rest will go to refiners in Spain and Russia.
The development comes weeks after Iran’s nuclear deal with six world powers – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – took effect and subsequently sanctions on Iran were lifted.
“For the first time after [the implementation of] JCPOA, Iran’s oil delivery to Europe is formally getting underway,” said Javadi.
Earlier in the day, Iran’s first vice president said the country’s oil exports will reach 1.5 million barrels per day (mb/d) next month as Tehran moves to benefit from sanctions relief.
“Today, our oil exports have reached 1.3 mb/d, which will reach 1.5 mb/d by” March, Es’haq Jahangiri said, adding that Iran will be exporting 2 mb/d of oil in the next calendar year starting on March 21.
Sanctions against Iran were imposed by the US and European Union at the beginning of 2012, alleging that there was diversion in Iran's nuclear program toward military objectives; an allegation that Iran categorically rejected.