On the 24th of November the European Union, along with the US, agreed to reduce sanctions against Iran if the country is willing to make cut backs in its nuclear and uranium enrichment programs. Several companies are excited by the prospect of more freedom to operate in Iran, especially the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC).
NITC is the largest tanker company in the Middle East, and the fourth largest in the world, yet since sanctions were first introduced the company has struggled to find customers who are looking to import Iranian crude oil. It is hopeful that an ease in sanctions would free up its fleet, allowing it to ship more product, and restore some of its lost business. Clarkson Plc, the largest shipbroker in the world, told Bloomberg that NITC owns 37 very large crude carriers, each capable of holding about 2 million barrels of oil.
Ali Safaei, the Chairman for NITC, said that “we hope that the recent developments reached on political levels will ease restrictions on our fleet and will smooth business grounds for those who are willing to work with us.”
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Since European sanctions, aimed at restricting the movement of tankers carrying Iranian crude, took effect last year NITC has had to rely on business from Iran’s largest faithful customers, China, India, South Korea, and Taiwan.
It was mentioned that part of the reduction in European sanctions would be in the form of a suspension on an insurance ban that all but halted all international ship owners from visiting Iranian ports and trading Iranian crude. Unfortunately Bloomberg claims that such a move will not help NITC too much, and the company will still be forced to rely on domestic Insurers.
Andrew Bardot, the secretary and executive officer of International Group of P&I Clubs, said that the discussed ways in which the US and EU plan to ease the sanctions, will unlikely offer any benefit to NITC.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com