Dutch Trading Firm Loads 1st Iran Crude Consignment

Dutch Trading Firm Loads 1st Iran Crude ConsignmentDutch Trading Firm Loads 1st Iran Crude Consignment

Trading house Trafigura has loaded its first major cargo of Iranian crude oil for delivery to Asia, industry sources and ship tracking showed.

The Dutch firm loaded the crude onto the Olympic Target tanker, capable of holding 2 million barrels of oil at the end of June, according to a shipping source, Reuters reported.

The tanker left Iran's main export terminal Kharg Island late in June and was now heading to Asia, according to Reuters shipping data.

A spokeswoman for Trafigura said the company did not comment on day-to-day commercial activities.

Iran's state oil firm is strict about the resale of its crude once it has reached an agreement with a buyer, which complicates deals with trading houses, industry sources said.

With this cargo, Trafigura appears to have beaten its competitors Glencore and Vitol in securing a deal.

According to its latest results, Trafigura overtook Glencore to become the world's second biggest independent oil trader.

But competition is heating up among the world's largest commodity traders over Iran's crude.

In February, officials of Vitol said they had already resumed imports from Iran following the January lifting of sanctions.

Glencore also chartered a ship to load oil at the Iranian southern port city of Bandar Mahshahr in February. The tanker reportedly loaded 80,000 tons of high-sulfur oil bound for Singapore.

Since international sanctions on Iran's oil exports were lifted in January this year, OPEC's third biggest producer has been steadily clawing back its old market share and going after new buyers such as Poland in direct competition with Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Oil majors Shell and Total are among the European refiners that have resumed buying Iranian oil. According to estimates, Saudi Arabia is OPEC's top producer with 31.3% market share among all members of the organization, followed by Iraq (13.4%), Iran (10.8%) and Kuwait (8.9%).

Iran is pumping more than 3.8 million barrels a day, according to the country's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh who said in the last OPEC meeting in Vienna last month that Iran wants a 14.5% share from the group's total output, which would put its production tally at around 4.7 million bpd.