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The first few weeks since nuclear sanctions on Iran were lifted have confirmed both the enticing opportunities on offer and the potential pitfalls. Millions of barrels of oil have been sold, but buyers have had to contend with lingering difficulties in making payments, as well as in securing insurance for shipping the crude.
These issues are gradually being overcome and Iranian exports should accelerate as firms grow more confident that they can securely deal with Iran. Iran’s reconnection to the Swift electronic transfer system on 17 February will also ease trading with the country.
A number of pre-sanctions buyers of Iranian crude have returned, with Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum the first to announce a “long term agreement” on 22 January (MEES, 29 January). Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Hossein Zamaninia confirmed on 20 February that the deal was for 60,000 b/d, potentially rising to 150,000 b/d.
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