NIOC Exports Oil, Gas Condensates to UK Companies

NIOC Exports Oil, Gas Condensates to UK CompaniesNIOC Exports Oil, Gas Condensates to UK Companies

Iran has sold its first cargo of gas condensate and crude oil to British companies, director for international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company said on Monday.

"A cargo of one million barrels of gas condensate was delivered to the British Petroleum," Reuters cited Mohsen Qamsari as saying.

"So far NIOC has exported two cargos of crude oil and gas condensate to two British companies," Qamsari said, without giving dates or naming the second company.

Iran has been seeking new customers for its crude oil and condensate production as it works to boost its output and export levels. Underscoring that the two cargoes have been exported under single-shipment contracts, Qamsari noted that negotiations are underway for NIOC to sign long-term contracts with BP and Shell.

The official stressed that the negotiations with Shell on the mechanism and volume of long-term oil sale deals are yet to be finalized. Iran plans to raise crude oil exports to 2.35 million barrels per day over the next few months from the current 2.2 million, Qamsari said on Sunday.

“At present, Iran on average exports between 600,000 bpd to 650,000 bpd to the Europe.”

Last week, the NIOC official told Shana, Oil Ministry's official news service, that the company had finalized a deal to sell 1 million barrels of oil to Hungary in November.

  British Oil Debts

Royal Dutch Shell paid €1.77 billion (roughly $2 billion) it owed the NIOC in March, which was a result of Iranian oil deliveries that Shell had been unable to pay due to sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear program.

Sanctions cut Iran's oil exports by more than half to around 1.1 million barrels per day from a pre-2012 level of 2.5 million bpd. BP last month released Iran's share of revenues from past gas sales at the Rhum Gas Field in the North Sea to an NIOC bank account in the UK, Ali Kardor, managing director of NIOC said, stressing negotiations are underway to ease the transfer of the payment to NIOC accounts in Iran.

“The amount has been deposited into an NIOC account, yet talks are being held to remove banking hurdles to facilitate transfer of Iran's dues from the development of the joint field with UK in the North Sea,” Kardor noted.

Rhum Gas Field, which cost $565 million to develop, is shared equally between BP and NIOC. But gas production from the field was stopped in 2010 due to the sanctions.

Economy Minister Ali Tayyebnia has said Tehran now faces no hurdles in receiving its oil revenues blocked during the tough sanctions' years that ended in January.

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