Greece to Clear Oil Debts Gradually

Greece to Clear Oil Debts GraduallyGreece to Clear Oil Debts Gradually

As a result of their crippling economic conditions, Greek refiners will settle their unpaid oil dues to Iran in installments.

"Athens has already repaid a part of its debts to the National Iranian Oil Company after the nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers took effect and the rest will be paid off little by little," Amirhossein Zamaninia, deputy oil minister for international affairs, told IRNA.

Commenting on Hellenic Petroleum's $755 million in unpaid dues, the official added that based on an agreement signed between Tehran and Athens during Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's  visit to Iran, oil export to Greece refiners will be resumed and they can clear their debts on a long-term basis.

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh had earlier announced that unless previous dues were settled, resumption of oil trade would be impossible no matter how interested Greek refiners would be in buying Iranian crud.

But because of Greece's economic woes, Iranian oil officials agreed to get the debts paid over a longer period.   

Asked about other states' unpaid dues, Zamaninia said Royal Dutch Shell has already paid $1.9 billion it owed NIOC and a couple of Italian enterprises have expressed their readiness to settle the debts in the near future.

"Emirates National Oil Company has also managed to use a part of its debts, amounting to $6 billion, for purchasing gas condensates," he said.

Unpaid debts to Iran by international petrochemical companies and refineries had amounted to $18 billion, among which Greece, India, Shell, BP refineries and Korea Petrochemicals topped the list. However, as soon as the nuclear accord was implemented and banking restraints were removed, the Persian Gulf country began to collect its debts.

According to Zamaninia, Greece is among NIOC's traditional customers planning to increase import from Iran by 160,000 barrels per day as soon as it resolves its financial crisis.

There are four refineries in this state and 20% of the country's need for crude are met by NIOC.

Hellenic Petroleum, Greece's biggest oil refiner, was the first European company that agreed to buy crude oil from Iran after sanctions on Iran were lifted.