1st Oil Shipment to Greece by March End

1st Oil Shipment to Greece by March End1st Oil Shipment to Greece by March End

The first Iranian oil cargo to Greece will be delivered by the end of March.

Hellenic Petroleum, Greece's largest refiner, signed a deal with the National Iranian Oil Company in January to resume oil purchases from Iran, Mehr News Agency reported.

Officials say the refiner will buy 60,000 barrels of oil per day from Iran but the volume can rise to 150,000 bpd.

Hellenic Petroleum was a major buyer of Iranian crude, which accounted for about 20% of the Southeast European country's annual oil imports before sanctions were imposed on Tehran in 2011. Following shipments to Russia's Lukoil, French major Total and Spanish refiner Cepsa, in February, the NIOC has now finalized a contract with Hellenic Petroleum.

Iran used to sell as much as 800,000 barrels per day to European refiners in Italy, Spain and Greece before 2011.

Under the January agreement, the refiner has also agreed to settle its multimillion-dollar debt to the NIOC.

Hellenic Petroleum is estimated to owe Iran around $755 million for oil it bought before the sanctions, but was unable to pay when the international embargo was put in place.

According to experts, energy cooperation with Greece is of high significance to Iran, asserting that Athens can become Iran's gateway to Europe.