Oil Export Not to Decline If EU Saves Nuclear Deal

Oil Export Not to Decline If EU Saves Nuclear DealOil Export Not to Decline If EU Saves Nuclear Deal

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Saturday US President Donald Trump’s decision to quit a multinational nuclear deal would not affect Tehran’s oil exports, if the EU could salvage the pact.

“Every new decision in OPEC needs unanimity ... I believe that the help of the European Union helps us ... The level of our oil exports will not change,” Zanganeh told reporters after a meeting with EU’s energy chief, Miguel Arias Canete, Reuters reported.

 “I have no doubt that these extraterritorial sanctions from US against Iran will have an impact on (foreign) investment in Iran,” Zanganeh told reporters. “It will not stop us but will reduce the rate of growth.”

In the wake of new US sanctions, some buyers of OPEC’s third-largest oil producer said they would seek US waivers to purchase Iranian crude.

“Our main customers are in Asia ... but we expect to preserve and save this level of exports to Europe and Africa,” he said.

Arias Canete, who is in Tehran for a two-day visit, presented Iranian counterparts with an array of potential measures drafted by the EU this week to mitigate the impact of US sanctions and bolster moderates around President Hassan Rouhani who want to keep trade open with the West.

“We want to solve all the problems that are impeding normal trade in oil,” Arias Canete said. Zanganeh said Iran was particularly keen that the EU act on a proposal urging European governments to make direct euro-denominated payments for oil exports to Iran’s central bank, bypassing the US financial system.

Other measures included renewing a sanctions-blocking measure to protect European businesses in Iran and allowing the European Investment Bank to do business in Iran.  EU investments in Iran, mainly from Germany, France and Italy, have jumped to more than €20 billion since 2016, in projects ranging from aerospace to energy.

But some foreign firms have already started signaling their intent to pull back from Iran.

“If Total does not receive US waivers, they will quit and will be replaced by a Chinese company,” Zanganeh said.

The Iranian oil minister said other countries such as Russia and China were eager to fill any vacuum created by the potential exit of European investors.

“The Chinese are very eager. Two big companies SINOPEC and CNPC are our historical partners for Iran. In the biggest fields in Iran, they are eager to be involved,” he said.

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