Oil-Gasoline Swap With Swiss, Dutch Traders

Oil-Gasoline Swap With Swiss, Dutch TradersOil-Gasoline Swap With Swiss, Dutch Traders

National Iranian Oil Company has reportedly signed deals with the world's largest commodity traders to import gasoline in exchange for crude oil.

Negotiations on the swap agreement have been made with Vitol and Gelncore–the world's largest energy and commodity traders headquartered in Switzerland—as well as Dutch-based Trafigura, the world's third largest private oil firm.

Mehr News Agency published the report on Sunday but did not give details on the volume of Iran's export or when it would make shipments under the new deals. The report could not be independently verified.

However, the crude-for-gasoline deals look all but sealed, as Iran has effectively resumed business with the European customers of its crude oil after international sanctions against it were removed on Jan. 16.

Vitol chief executive Ian Taylor said this month that it was "business as usual" with Iran, adding that his company had resumed buying oil from Iran after sanctions removal.

The statement was the first confirmation by an international trading company on doing business with the Islamic Republic after last month's sanctions removal.

In addition, Hellenic Shipping News said last week that Geneva-based trading company Gunvor was loading the Maersk Messina tanker with gasoline headed to Bandar Abbas.

It said Gunvor was expected to supply a 35,000-ton gasoline cargo to Iran by the end of February.

The report added that Gunvor's shipping arm, Clearlake, was loading the cargo from the Emirati port of Fujairah on the medium-range tanker.

The swap deals would help Iran partially offset its gasoline demand. The country imports around 8 million liters of gasoline per day to meet its 70 million-liter-per-day demand.

Iran plans to turn into a major producer and exporter of gasoline in the region, but its oil and gas projects hit a roadblock under the sanctions as Iran had strictly limited relations with the outside world.

The construction of Iran's landmark Persian Gulf Star Refinery project started nine years ago in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas.

The refinery is expected to go on stream in 2017 with more than $3 billion and counting invested in what will become the largest gasoline production facility in Iran and the Middle East.

The refinery will have the capacity to produce 36 million liters of gasoline, 360,000 barrels of gas condensates, 14 million liters of diesel and 370,000 liters of jet fuel per day.

Iran’s gasoline imports slumped to almost zero in 2012 from more than 100,000 barrels a day before 2010, data by the Joint Organizations Data Initiative show. The drop coincided with tougher financial and trade restrictions by the US and the EU against the Persian Gulf nation.