Oil Talks With S. Africa in October

Oil Talks With S. Africa in OctoberOil Talks With S. Africa in October

South African oil companies will meet Iranian officials in October to discuss the resumption of crude imports, the deputy energy minister said on Thursday.

"There is a visit that has already been scheduled for them to come to South Africa in October and they will get the opportunity to speak to the oil companies," Thembisile Majola told Reuters. International sanctions on Iran could start to be lifted as early as spring next year, as Tehran and the West potentially open up billions of dollars of trade deals.

Iran was once the biggest oil supplier to South Africa, exporting around 380,000 barrels per day that powered up the continent's most advanced economy.

Majola also said South Africa was planning to build a crude oil refinery, which would use Iranian crude, to add to the existing PetroSA's gas-to-liquid plant in Mossel Bay.

"We are looking to build a refinery and we had already begun these kinds of discussion in terms of having a partnership," she said, adding state-owned PetroSA had agreed to help Tehran build a gas-to-liquid refinery.

Earlier this week, Iranian Oil Ministry officials said South Africa will be the first new customer to purchase Iranian crude, once sanctions are lifted. South Africa has signed a preliminary oil purchase agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company in anticipation of normalizing relations. The agreement is not final.