Oil Shipping Surges After Sanctions Removal

Oil Shipping Surges After Sanctions RemovalOil Shipping Surges After Sanctions Removal

A US-based insurer in the international shipping industry said the US government's authorization to cover non-American companies transporting oil from Iran is potentially helping the Persian Gulf country to revive the export of crude and petroleum products following the lifting of sanctions last month.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control on Feb. 5 “prospectively removed” the restriction that previously prevented the American Club from providing cover for Iranian cargoes, the New York-based insurer said in a circular on its website, Bloomberg reported.

The club is “now generally available for non-US members’ transportation of crude and products to and from Iran,” according to the notice.

In terms of Iranian exports, insurance “is where the biggest problem has been and now that seems to have been resolved, at least that’s one problem out of the way,” Erik Nikolai Stavseth, a shipping analyst at Arctic Securities ASA in Oslo, said by phone.

"It is likely that European insurers will follow since the US club has been cleared to provide cover."

Iran is trying to rebuild its oil output after sanctions were lifted in January that had restricted those sales for the prior four years.

US curbs on insurers were not eased at the same time as the restrictions on exports were stopped. The nation was expected to increase crude oil production by 100,000 barrels a day, or 3.7%, a month after sanctions were lifted and by 400,000 in six months, according to the median estimate of 12 analysts and economists surveyed by Bloomberg in mid-January.

The American Club is one of 13 members of the International Group of P&I Clubs in London, which collectively covers more than 90% of the global tanker fleet against risks, including oil spills.

The Lloyd's of London insurance market said in January that from a European Union perspective, its managing agents can now provide insurance and reinsurance for the transportation of Iranian oil and petroleum products, following the lifting of sanctions.

According to the Central Insurance Company of Iran, several foreign insurance firms, including Munich RE, Swiss Re, Tokio Marine and SompoNasco Insurance Group, have expressed interest in the Iranian market.