UPDATE: Iran Denies Blocking Oil Shipment to Greece
UPDATE II: Fars Insists Iran Refrained from Delivering Oil to Greeks
Iran has refused to give Greece a shipment of 500,000 barrels of crude oil in a retaliatory measure against the planned EU embargo of Iranian oil, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported today.
“Oil tankers that had come to transfer 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil to a refinery in Greece had to go back empty-handed after Iran refused to give the shipment.” [Fars News Agency, 26 February].
But Hellenic Petroleum, the Greek refiner and importer of Iranian oil, said in a statement released after the publication of Fars report that Iran has not refused any crude shipment to the company and supplies have been processed “normally.” [Reuters, 26 February].
Iran’s Oil Ministry has not yet confirmed the report. Last week, Fars News Agency published a report on Iran’s immediate ban of oil exports to Greece, only to be refuted by the oil ministry. Iran, however, stopped selling crude to British and French companies.
Reuters reported on Friday that Swiss-based Totsa, the trading arm of French oil major Total, and trading houses Glencore and Mercuria were in separate negotiations with Hellenic Petroleum to help it replace Iranian crude. Hellenic would pay back the traders with refined products, which could then be sold in Greece or abroad.
UPDATE: The Iranian oil officials said Sunday Iran had not blocked an oil shipment to Greece, denying an earlier report by the country’s semi-official Fars News Agency that it had done so in retaliation to the planned EU oil embargo against the country.“There has been no change in Iran's oil shipment to Greece or any other country. No changes in our shipment schedule,” said Pirouz Mousavi, managing director of the Iranian Oil Terminals Co. [ISNA, 26 February].
UPDATE II: In the newest twist on the report of Iran’s refusal, or lack of, to supply 500,000 barrels of crude to Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum, Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency in a new dispatch insisted that Iran indeed refrained from supplying oil to the Greeks.Fars reports that most of Iran’s oil deliveries to European refiners take place outside Iranian ports, reportedly from an Iranian tanker to a European one, and on Sunday when the Hellenic tanker arrived at the point of delivery, Iran refused and the tanker was sent back empty.