ELPE expecting first European shipment of Iranian crude today

ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) is expecting to receive today its first shipment of Iranian crude from NIOC, the state-run National Iranian Oil Company, following the recent lifting of western-imposed sanctions on Iran.

The order also represents the first shipment to arrive in Europe, Yiannis Psychogios, ELPE’s general manager for supply, refining and sales, informed during a speech delivered at an event organized by IDIS, the Institute of International Relations.

The ELPE official expressed optimism about the new prospects and conditions generated by the lifting of the western-imposed sanctions on Iran. Psychogios pointed out that Iranian crude is highly appropriate for the needs of ELPE’s refineries as they were initially designed based on the assumption that Iran would be a key supplier.

Prior to the sanctions, Iranian crude imports covered about 25 percent of ELPE’s needs. The corporation aims to soon reach this level again and possibly surpass it. Psychogios explained that the price offered by NIOC for Iranian crude would determine order quantities. They could be doubled if the price is right, he added.

Trading ties between ELPE and NIOC stretch back 30 years. The incoming shipment, marking the resumption of trade by the two sides, will consist of about one million barrels of Iranian crude. These will be split between ELPE and the French company Total. Two follow-up shipments are expected next month.

The return of Iran to the international oil market has also led to indirect benefits for Greece as a result of the increase in competition among suppliers, noted Psychogios, while adding that rival crude suppliers from Saudi Arabia and Russia are now offering more favorable deals. “It’s a buyer’s market,” Psychogios said.

This development could have a positive impact on ELPE’s financial performance and prompt further investments, the official said.

Commenting on an outstanding some owed until recently by ELPE to NIOC, Psychogios contended that it had resulted as ELPE was not required to make advance payments for orders because of the friendly trading terms between the two firms. The arrival of the western-imposed sanctions, which created banking restrictions in Iran, made it impossible for ELPE to settle the amount owed at the time, he said. The issue was resolved two-and-a-half months ago with favorable terms for ELPE, Psychogios informed.