Iran Ready to Unleash Its Tanker Fleet

Iran’s oil-shipping giant National Iranian Tankers Company (NITC) is ready to make a comeback on the European and international markets as soon as possible following a deal on lifting of nuclear sanctions agreed upon on Tuesday between Iran and the six world powers in Vienna, a company official confirmed.

Under the deal, sanctions against Iran’s oil export industry are to be lifted in exchange for additional restrains on the country’s nuclear program. The agreement is expected to boost the country’s oil exports and pave the way for its tankers to be unleashed into the market.

“Iranian tankers will return to European and international markets in shortest possible time after the termination of nuclear sanctions, Shahram Farahbod, head of the NITC’s Insurance and Legal Suits Affairs Office told IRNA.

According to Farahbod, the termination of the nuclear sanctions after signing of the comprehensive nuclear deal will also rid the NITC of the nuisance of those sanctions.

NITC was blacklisted by the European Union for the second time in February this year as it had failed in its legal attempt to convince a London Court to prevent the EU from reimposing sanctions.

The sanctions had been imposed in 2012 over Iran’s nuclear program, and banned any trade between NITC and the EU, including insurance and banking. NITC was blacklisted in the United States as well.

NITC contested the blacklisting arguing that the company is privately owned by Iranian pension funds, and affiliated neither with the Iranian government, nor with the Revolutionary Guards.

As a result, the EU lifted the sanctions against Iran’s largest oil tanker company in October 2014, only to reimpose them in February. The legal wrangle has left out NITC from international trade ever since.

Iran’s return to the market would be welcome in terms of increasing production in an oversupplied market, notably with regards to difficulties in placing and discharging cargoes ashore, Gibson Shipbrokers says in its tanker report. However, with more Iranian crude, comes the release of more Iranian tonnage.

The Iranian fleet currently consists of 37 VLCCs (5.8% of the global VLCC fleet), 12 Suezmaxes and 5 Aframaxes, with most currently absent from the conventional tanker market. The Iranian fleet will need to re-establish compliance with international standards if it is to enter the mainstream spot markets.

Iranian officials indicated they would try to maximize crude exports to Europe and restore a market share of over 40 percent there, Reuters reports. Certain analysts estimate that Iran’s oil exports could increase by up to 60 percent within a year.

The implementation of the agreement between Iran and US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany (the so called P5+1) may take months depending on Iran’s willingness to meet its assumed obligations stemming from the deal.

World Maritime News Staff

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Posted on July 15, 2015 with tags .

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