Iran Leases 5 Oil Tankers to Int'l Firms

Iran Leases 5 Oil Tankers to Int'l FirmsIran Leases 5 Oil Tankers to Int'l Firms

Iran has leased five oil tankers to foreign companies since sanctions against it were removed in January, said an official at the National Iranian Tanker Company.

"Measures have been taken for Iranian vessels to reenter European markets or be leased to foreign contractors," Ali-Akbar Kazemi, head of the leasing department at NITC was quoted as saying by ILNA.

"Five NITC vessels have been leased to foreign contractors since the removal of international sanctions," he added, without naming the firms or the destination of vessels.

The majority of Iran's tanker fleet is used by the National Iranian Oil Company for crude oil export, as the country is on track to wrest back the market it lost to rival producers when sanctions were tightened in 2012.

Kazemi said NITC enters into leasing contracts with both domestic and foreign companies only when the state-owned NIOC does not need its tanker fleet.

Enforcement of the landmark nuclear deal with the six world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has presented new vistas for the tanker business, particularly in overseas markets.

"Overall, multinationals have a positive approach to resuming relations with NITC. But they're also waiting for sound and stable financial transactions," Kazemi noted.

Western restrictions significantly limited the operation of Iranian vessels and prompted many oil, gas and insurance companies to avoid business with Iran in fear of violating the sanctions, in particular the unilateral US restrictions.

Now NITC is planning to make up for past setbacks as major foreign companies have shown interest in providing insurance cover for Iranian crude carriers.

The company, which owns the world's largest tanker fleet, is taking steps to improve and update to international operational standards and register its vessels with major global institutions.

According to official reports, Iran has 42 Very Large Crude Carriers, nine Suezmaxes, five Aframaxes and several other ships, with the fleet’s average age at around 8.5 years.

  Ship Classification

Ali Akbar Safaei, the chief executive of NITC, said shortly after the lifting of sanctions in miad-January that "From now on, Iranian oil tankers will carry cargo under the certification of the international classification institute Lloyd's Register."

Iran so far has made all of its Europe-bound oil shipments via international vessels. In February, three foreign tankers loaded 4 million barrels of crude from the Kharg Oil Terminal in the Persian Gulf for destinations in Europe following orders by Total S.A., Lukoil and Cepsa.

Ship classification is the process of detailing technical aspects of vessels by international institutions that will allow them to dock in many ports and terminals and sail in international waters with ease.

Italy’s RINA Services and the Asian Classification Society (ACS) classified two Iranian ships in March.