Reports say Iran has sent at least two supertankers to Europe in what appears to be the country’s first direct shipment of crude oil to EU clients after the removal of sanctions last year.
A report by the Financial Times said two giant vessels called ‘Snow’ and ‘Huge’ were already on their way towards the storage and trading port of Rotterdam.
Both belong to the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) and had taken their loads at Iran’s Kharg Island earlier this month.
The supertankers are the first vessels operated by the NITC rather than independent shippers. Both can carry more than two million barrels of oil, the Financial Times wrote, adding that they are expected to reach Rotterdam early next month.
Earlier, Bloomberg had quoted market figures as showing that Europe was already preparing to import the highest amount of crude oil from Iran in five years.
Bloomberg had highlighted estimates as showing that tanker arrivals from Iran would reach 622,581 barrels a day in January. This, it said, would be the biggest flows for a single month since at least November 2011.
The Financial Times further in its report highlighted remarks by NITC Managing Director Sirus Kianersi that the resumption of his company’s oil shipments to Europe was a result of a “resolution” of the insurance and international certification issues.
The same issues, the report added, had delayed the Iranian oil shipper from sending its own vessels to European ports.
On a related front, Reuters said earlier this week that global ship insurers planned to resume near full coverage for Iranian oil exports from next month without involving US-domiciled reinsurers.
It said the insurers had reached a deal to the same effect, adding the mechanism would be effective as of next month.