Iranian Oil Minister, Bijan Zanganeh, announced on Saturday (6 February) that following the lifting of international sanctions, Iran’s oil sales to Europe had already reached more than 300,000 barrels per day (bpd). The number represents 54 percent of the total volume of oil that Teheran shipped to the ‘Old Continent’ before the introduction of the sanctions when Europe, excluding Turkey, imported 550,000 bpd of Iranian oil. After punitive measures had been introduced in 2011, Iran’s overall oil exports were about 1 million bpd, a sharp fall from their peak of 3 million barrels per day before the sanctions.
After Teheran had signed the controversial nuclear deal with world powers, it immediately ordered a 500,000 bpd increase in its oil production. Moreover, the National Iranian Oil Company and France’s Total signed a deal based on which Total would buy 160,000 bpd of crude oil to be shipped to Europe. The contract should be finalized on 16 February. Mr Zanganeh also said that Italy’s Eni was interested in purchasing 100,000 bpd of crude oil and the company’s management should come to Teheran soon to discuss the deal. “Eni has voiced its interest in one of Iran’s fields which will be treated like the agreement reached with Total,” Mr Zanganeh commented and added that Italy’s Saras was also interested in buying 60,000-70,000 bpd of crude oil.
Iran is determined to re-establish its relations with European clients also by sweetening the terms of the deals it offers as investors had been for long deterred by low oil prices and sanctions. The new contracts, which include those in the upstream exploration and development sectors, are thought to attract over $40 billion in foreign investment. Teheran has also put off a planned oil conference in London, which was due to take place this month to announce its new deals, until November 2016 following a recommendation of the United States.