NITC Shipments Set to Expand

NITC Shipments Set to ExpandNITC Shipments Set to Expand

The lifting of sanctions will ease the docking of Iranian oil vessels in international ports, allowing Iran's tanker fleet to earn a significant amount of profit, chief executive of the National Iranian Tanker Company said.

Many Iranian crude shipments are currently forced to set off on a "ballast voyage" due to international restrictions, meaning they return empty or carry a cargo with little or no value after the discharge.

"Sanctions inflicted heavy losses on NITC, part of which is a result of ballast voyages," Ali Akbar Safaei was quoted as saying by Shana on Saturday. "But that is about to change."

Safaei noted that sanctions prevented Iranian vessels from reloading at "certain export routes".

Tehran reached a landmark deal with six world powers (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) in July that limits the Persian Gulf country's nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief.

The deal was expected to take effect on Saturday, according to a statement by Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna. Reuters said in a report on Friday that Iran has 22 very large crude carriers floating off its coast, with 13 fully or almost fully loaded.

The European Union introduced tougher sanctions against Iran in early 2012, including a ban on the insurance of Iran tankers and shipment of its crude oil and petroleum products.

In November 2013, Iran and six world powers clinched an agreement that paved the way for the temporary suspension of sanctions against Iran's shipments from January to June 2014. But other restrictions that were still in place effectively undermined exports to Europe, among other markets.

Many international companies and financial institutions avoided conducting business with Iran during the six-month period in fear of violating the sanctions.

Officials say Iran holds a considerable amount of condensate at sea, which will go on sale immediately after the sanctions removal.

CNN claimed last year that Iranian vessels hold 30-40 million barrels of oil at sea, while the New York-based information portal Platts estimated the number to be around 53 million barrels.

In related news, NITC is scheduled to hold a conference in Tehran on Sunday to mark its 60th anniversary. Representatives of 600 domestic and international companies, including from the Royal Dutch Shell and French oil and gas major Total, are expected to attend the event.

According to NITC, the convention will be a platform for Iranian and international companies to engage in business talks and introduce the country's potential in shipping and transportation.

NITC is the world's biggest tanker fleet company with a capacity to load 15.5 million tons of oil and condensate. It shipped more than 70 million tons of products in March-December under the sanctions regime.