Italian Refiner Repays Iran Oil Debt

Italian Refiner Repays Iran Oil DebtItalian Refiner Repays Iran Oil Debt

Italian oil refiner Saras has paid €100 million ($112 million) of the debt it owes Iran for crude oil it purchased before sanctions were imposed on the country in 2012, the company's managing director said.

Saras, which had an outstanding debt of around €350 million with Tehran, paid a first installment of €50 million in the second quarter and another €50 million in July, Reuters reported.

"We expect a smooth repayment over time," Dario Scaffardi told analysts on a conference call on second-quarter results.

International financial sanctions on Iran were lifted in January after a deal aimed at limiting the country’s nuclear activities in exchange for the easing of the international sanctions against its economic and banking sectors.

This is while US banks are still forbidden to do business with Iran and European lenders also have to cope with rules prohibiting dollar transactions with Iran being processed through the US financial system.

Saras, which is partly owned by Russian oil giant Rosneft, used to take a significant part of its crude feedstock from Iran before the embargo on the country.

Earlier this year Scaffardi said the company had renewed its crude oil supply contract with the National Iranian Oil Company but added there were still some hurdles to overcome on the banking payment front.

"We took our first cargo of crude in June ... There are some interesting opportunities from this area in the future," he said.

Saras said the payments to Iran would contribute to reducing its current net cash position of €140 million to close to zero by the end of the year.