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OMV makes first purchase of Iran oil in years

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Austria’s OMV has purchased the first cargo of Iranian crude oil since 2012 when it stopped the purchases as a result of sanctions.

The Austrian utility group OMV is reported to have received the first consignment of crude oil from Iran in several years after sanctions were imposed on the country. 

AzerNews reported that OMV received 1 million barrels of crude oil from Iran in a spot delivery at the Italian port of Trieste.  It added that the cargo will be further send to the company’s two refineries in Austria and Romania for further processing.

Purchases from Iran had stopped in 2012 as a result of sanctions.  

OMV has now joined several other European companies that have already resumed purchases of crude oil from Iran. The companies include Shell, Saras, Iplom, Repsol and Hellenic Petroleum. 

Mohsen Qamsari, the director for international affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), told Iran’s media in June that talks with several other companies from Europe are underway on buying Iran’s oil. 

OMV had earlier signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the NIOC as it looked to revive its activities in Iran, AzerNews reported. The deal covered several areas ranging from oil and gas field evaluation to crude oil and petroleum product swaps, it added.

Iran’s oil exports plunged to around 1 million barrels per day (mb/d) after a series of draconian US-engineered sanctions were imposed against the country.  The sanctions were lifted in January after the implementation of a nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany. 

The latest shipping data show that Iran’s exports of crude oil in August increased 15 percent from July and exceeded 2 million barrels per day (mb/d) – the highest level in almost five years.

Reuters quoted an unnamed source with knowledge of Iran’s tanker loading schedule as saying that the country’s oil exports in August had reached as high as 2.11 mb/d. The figure, the source added, is almost double the volume for the country’s exports over the same period last year and is close to pre-sanctions levels.

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