As sanctions clamp down upon Iran’s oil trade, reports have begun to emerge of private firms trying to sell Iranian oil at discount prices in order to help the country whether the economic and political storm.
Oil exports make up a key component of the Iranian economy and as such are one of the main forces fuelling development of Tehran’s nuclear programme; a programme that Western governments believe is nothing more than a scheme to develop a nuclear weapon.
Until recently, Iranian oil could only be purchased through the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), but this law has been scrapped to allow private companies to sell oil on behalf of Tehran. According to reports, these private companies offer Iranian oil at a steep discount, sometimes even offering fake paperwork to hide the oil’s origin. According to one source interviewed by Reuters, “They are all crazy offshore companies, mainly Iranian guys behind them.”
According to traders, in the region of US$ 700 million worth of Iranian oil is in Egypt, where it is being offered at discount prices for immediate delivery.
Other ingenious methods to avoid the sanctions could also be employed; one way would be to fill a tanker 75% full with legitimate Iraqi crude and then fill the remaining 25% with Iranian oil; the difference between the two is so slight that it would be impossible to tell them apart.
Another source however, cast doubt on whether the private companies would actually be able to sell much of the oil at all, “The banks are so scared of the sanctions that they are policing any transaction even remotely resembling an Iranian deal. And without banks you cannot do much. Unless you are crazy enough to bring cash in a case.”
Edited from various sources by David Bizley