240 foreign tankers call at Iranian oil terminal in wake of nuclear deal

Iran says 240 foreign-flagged tankers have docked at its southern Kharg oil terminal since the lifting of international sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Mohammad Mehdi Benchari, gm of Bushehr Province Department of Ports and Maritime Organisation, said the calls had contributed to a 60% period-on-period surge in oil exports from the terminal in the first four months of the Iranian calendar year which began on March 20.

Benchari was quoted by various Iranian news agencies, including the Islamic Republic News Agency and PressTV, as saying more than 35.8 million tons of products were “exported or imported through Kharg” in the same period.

Carriers from France, Spain, Greece, Poland, The Netherlands, Italy and South Korea had docked at Kharg Island since the January 16 implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), he said. The JCPOA was signed on July 14, 2015, following the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, France, Britain, China and Russia – plus Germany.

Reuters reports that state-controlled shipper China Shipping Development, PetroVietnam and Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan are among the non-Iranian companies currently chartered to carry Iranian oil. Greek, Turkish and Seychelles-owned tankers are also said to be carrying Iranian oil.

With international vessels supporting Iran’s own tanker fleet, oil exports are close to pre-sanction levels of around 2.5m barrels per day (bpd); between 2.1 and 2.3mbpd were reportedly transported in April and May with India, China and Japan the main importers.

An increase in insurance cover by The International Group of P&I Clubs, which represents the world’s top 13 ship insurers, has made the resumption of international shipping of Iranian oil possible, Reuters says.

P&I Clubs increased the amount covered by so-called “fall-back” shipping insurance, designed to offset any shortfall in payments from U.S. reinsurers who are still not allowed to deal with Iran, from €70m to €100m ($113.36m) in April.

Kharg Island is located 25km off the coast of Iran in the Arabian Gulf. It is 483 km northwest of the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of global oil exports passes.

PressTV reports storage capacity on the island is 30m barrels and that Tehran had prepared its nationwide terminals for as much as 6mbpd of exports in the countdown to the lifting of sanctions.

The repair of two subsea pipelines which had been damaged during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war were part of a year-long readying of undersea oil pipelines and other marine salvage operations at Kharg Island, it reported.

Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.