Iran sanctions may affect oil deliveries to Greece
Iran sanctions may affect oil deliveries to Greece
China seeking to skirt US sanctions will use oil tankers from Iran for its purchases of that country's crude
15 March, 2019, 09:50
While tracking Iran'soil exports has become an increasingly hard task after the US sanctions returned, some of the key Iranian oil customers that received USA waivers resumed buying Iran's oil in 2019 or increased imports to their respective ceiling allowed under the waivers, after an initial "wait-and-see mode" for November and December purchases amid uncertainties as to who was getting waivers.
Indian refiners Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp, Mangalore Refinery and Petroleum Corp and Indian Oil Corp together lifted 1.25 million tonnes or 9 million barrels of Iranian oil in February.
"From the Suez Canal to the Strait of Malacca and all chokepoints in between, Iranian tankers are now a floating liability", Hook said.
According to maritime specialists, methods used for skirting sanctions in the past have included changing the names of ships, switching off AIS (Automatic Identification System) location transponders and conducting ship-to-ship transfers of oil.
Government sources say Reuters' calculations showing India's oil imports from Iran in this fiscal year would be higher than the 452,000 bpd, or 22.6 million tonnes, it imported in the previous year, were correct. Insurance companies in the West are also hesitant to get involved.
"Many big oil traders are very anxious about going into Iran due to Trump, and even the Chinese are trying to comply with what the Americans want", said Varzi, who is based in Britain.
It is believed that more than 15 Iranian tankers are coming up to 20 years old. While India has reduced purchases of Iranian oil, it has been in talks on extending the sanctions waiver, known as a significant reduction exception, the officials added.
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The sanctions have started to have an effect on the Iranian economy and the regime is desperate to find ways around sanctions.
The U.S. has signaled that Iranian customers shouldn't rely on waiver extensions, but the Trump Administration has not yet officially said if it would stop granting waivers.
When asked about Iran's efforts to secure ships, a third Iranian source said they were looking at all options.
If Iran runs into difficulties exporting its oil it could have a significant impact.
Vietnamese officials did not respond to requests for comment.
In November, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook called Iranian vessels a "floating liability", saying the US sanctions would bar them from worldwide insurance markets, making them a risk for ports and canals which allow them access.
Shipping data showed at least two Panama flagged tankers - the Sarak and the Sobar - were re-flagged to Iran on January 1.
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