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Iran storing 28 million barrels of oil on ships
Source: BI-ME and agencies , Author: BI-ME staff
Posted: Thu May 8, 2008 12:00 am

IRAN.  Iran has marshalled a fleet of supertankers to store up to 28 million barrels of crude oil in the Gulf close to its main Kharg Island crude export terminal, ship industry sources and brokers said yesterday.

Ship industry sources who deal with Gulf shipments said Iran was using nine of its own National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC)-owned Very Large Crude Carriers for floating storage and four other VLCCs hired on time-charter from private operators.

“Apparently they are there for more,” the ship industry source said. It was unclear how long the shipments were on time-charter for. The news was corroborated by shipping brokers.

“NITC has again entered the timecharter market and taken as many as 14 VLCCs for storage or Red Sea voyages,” said EA Gibson ship brokers in London.

“This is a repeat of their position taken two years ago when Iran used about ten VLCC for three months storage.”

A top Iranian official said yesterday that Tehran’s oil exports had slowed by about 200,000 bpd since early April because of reduced demand from global refiners in maintenance. But oil shipments should recover during the second half of May when plants resume full production, Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, international affairs director at the National Iranian Oil Company, told Reuters by telephone.

Ghanimifard declined to comment on the amount of oil Iran was reportedly storing on dedicated tankers in the Gulf.

In 2006, Iran, Opec’s second biggest producer, placed some 20 million barrels of crude, mostly Soroush and Nowruz grades, in floating storage because it was having difficulties finding buyers.



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