Japan, Russia and Greece in Iranian deals

Iran signs trio of contracts with important clients, hot on the heels of sanctions removal.

Iran has clinched three oil contracts with Japan, Greece and Russia following the lifting of western sanctions.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said Russia’s Lukoil has signed a $6m deal for two exploration projects in the country’s south-western province of Khouzestan.

Lukoil has already started looking for hydrocarbon reserves in the region, according to Hormoz Qalavand, director of exploration affairs of NIOC.

The Russian company was doing business alongside Norwegian counterpart Statoil in Iran, well before the US and European sanctions intensified in 2011.

In another deal, Iran is about to start crude deliveries to Greece after the two countries’ state oil firms reached a supply agreement.

Greece’s state refiner Hellenic Petroleum said in a statement late on Friday it reached a “long-term framework agreement” with NIOC. Crude deliveries would start “immediately”, Hellenic said in the statement without elaborating further.

The agreement, reached after several meetings between the two companies’ officials in both Athens and Tehran, included the settlement of “pending issues" between them, the statement said.

This is understood to refer to hundreds of millions of dollars Hellenic Petroleum is known to owe to NIOC for crude delivered before sanctions against Tehran kicked in in 2011.

And Iran’s key client Japan is looking to restore its business in the country to pre-sanction levels, with a deal to purchase more oil.

NIOC said Japan’s contract will be extended until 2017 and the country will purchase more than the current 110,000 barrels per day from Iran. But no exact figure was provided.

The preparation to re-strengthen the ties between the two countries started several months ago, NIOC explained.

It said that Tehran hosted several major oil delegations from Japan over recent months, where it became clear that Japan was ready to take action as soon as the bans were lifted.

As TradeWinds reported earlier today, Iranian owner NITC is expected to place a VLCC order, its first since 2009.