Iran has resumed oil exports to Greece
, shipping 60,000 barrels per day to one of Europe’s main buyers of Iranian oil before the West banned crude purchases from Tehran.
Greece’s biggest refiner Hellenic Petroleum agreed to an immediate start of Iranian crude imports under a supply deal with the National Iranian Oil Company in January.
“Under the deal with Hellenic Petroleum, Iran’s crude oil exports to Greece have resumed and 60,000 barrels per day of oil is exported to this European country,” Mohsen Qamsari of the National Iranian Oil Company said on Saturday.
Greece was one of Europe’s main buyers of Iranian oil before the EU banned crude imports as part of 2012 sanctions against Tehran.
Iranian officials have earlier said Greece was about to buy a quarter of its demand for crude imports from Iran under a long-term supply agreement with NIOC.
The EU member’s crude imports totaled about 420,000 bpd during the first 10 months of 2015, according to official data.
Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Amirhossein Zamaninia reached the deal during a visit to Athens in January, which included the settlement of outstanding crude payments to NIOC.
Hellenic reportedly owes Iran $755 million for the oil it has imported before the imposition of sanctions on Tehran.
Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh said last week that Iran had signed deals to export 700,000 barrels of oil per day to Europe.
EU is interested in long-term contracts with Iran and sees the country as a reliable source to meet its energy needs, he added.
Europe imported about 400,000 barrels of oil a day from Iran before sanctions, according to the International Energy Agency.
France’s Total, Spain’s Cepsa and Russia’s Litasco were the first European companies to resume oil trade with Iran after the lifting of sanctions.
Other major buyers such as Anglo-Dutch major Shell, Italy’s Eni and trading houses Vitol, Glencore and Trafigura are yet to resume purchases.