Cash prob­lems ham­per plans for ex­pan­sion of Iran oil agree­ment

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

Tehran is in­ter­ested in ex­pand­ing an agree­ment be­tween the Na­tional Ira­nian Oil Com­pany (NIOC) and Hel­lenic Pe­tro­leum, both in terms of crude oil quantities and of prod­ucts, ac­cord­ing to com­ments made last week by Ira­nian Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Ma­jid Takhty Ra­vanchi dur­ing a visit to Athens and meet­ings with Greek gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

The Ira­nian diplo­mat also in­formed Athens that his coun­try’s En­ergy Min­istry has ap­proved the pro­vi­sional agree­ment signed by NIOC and Hel­lenic Pe­tro­leum in Jan­uary, while it was agreed that the fi­nal deal be­tween the two com­pa­nies would be signed in Tehran, prob­a­bly next week.

Ra­vanchi ex­pressed his sat­is­fac­tion with the re­sponse of the Greek oil com­pany to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the deal with NIOC for two loads of 1 mil­lion tons of crude oil per month and the grad­ual re­pay­ment of Hel­lenic Pe­tro­leum’s debts to NIOC, amount­ing to $600 mil­lion. Iran has so far re­ceived $400 mil­lion, paid in cash due to the re­luc­tance of Euro­pean banks to ap­prove pay­ments to Iraq (in spite of the lift­ing of the em­bargo) and due to the non­recog­ni­tion by Iran of the letters of guar­an­tee by Greek banks.

In an ef­fort to over­come these ob­sta­cles and in­crease the Ira­nian crude quantities, the Greek side has pro­posed that Iran ei­ther ac­cept the letters of guar­an­tee from the Na­tional Bank of Greece or open an Ira­nian bank branch in Athens to serve trans­ac­tions be­tween the two coun­tries, as well as those be­tween Iran and other Euro­pean Union states.

Sources say that the process for open­ing an Ira­nian bank in Athens is al­ready at an ad­vanced stage, though in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ments in the credit sec­tor due to the forth­com­ing exit of Bri­tain from the Euro­pean Union have de­layed progress. Peo­ple close to the ef­fort say that al­though this plan is ma­ture enough, it will not pro­ceed fur­ther be­fore the US elec­tion, whose re­sult could over­turn pos- itive de­vel­op­ments re­lated to Iran’s re­turn to in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.

Ra­vanchi also ex­pressed his coun­try’s in­ter­est in refin­ing Ira­nian oil at the in­stal­la­tions of Hel­lenic Pe­tro­leum for Tehran but the Greek com­pany re­jected this pro­posal as it does not have the nec­es­sary ca­pac­ity.

A state­ment by the Greek En­ergy Min­istry added that Ra­vanchi’s meet­ing with Min­is­ter Panos Sk­ourletis also fo­cused on pos­si­ble co­op­er­a­tion in the fields of liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas (LNG), re­new­able en­ergy sources and en­ergy sav­ing. The two sides agreed to ex­am­ine – through a joint com­mit­tee – the ex­port to Iran of petro­chem­i­cals pro­duced at Hel­lenic Pe­tro­leum’s re­finer­ies.

Iran’s Ra­vanchi ex­pressed his coun­try’s in­ter­est in refin­ing Ira­nian oil at the in­stal­la­tions of Hel­lenic Pe­tro­leum for Tehran but the Greek com­pany re­jected this pro­posal be­cause it does not have the ca­pac­ity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.