ELPE expecting two more Iranian crude shipments in May

ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) expects to receive two further shipments of Iranian crude from NIOC, the state-run National Iranian Oil Company, in mid-May, each one of these comprised of one million barrels, following the arrival of a first shipment at the Greek refinery’s port facilities just days ago.

That delivery, which arrived last Thursday, represented the first shipment of Iranian crude to reach Europe following the recent lifting of western-imposed sanctions on Iran.

Once the additional two shipments have been delivered to ELPE, the refinery will have received three million barrels of Iranian crude, increasing ELPE’s crude imports from the country to a level of between 22 and 25 percent of its total crude imports.

An ELPE official recently noted the refinery could double its quantity of Iranian crude orders if price levels permit.

Payment of last week’s first shipment received by ELPE needed to be made via BCP, a Turkish-linked bank in Switzerland, as a result of lingering banking restrictions n Iran.

The Swiss group Borak holds a 69 percent share of BCP, while the other 31 percent is controlled by the Turkish bank Yapi ve Kredi Bankasi, belonging to Turkish corporate giant Koc Holding. Over 9 percent of Turkish exports are represented by Koc Holding, comprised of over 100 companies that employ roughly 90,000 persons.

ELPE officials contended that the Greek refinery is one of NIOC’s few customers that have made a payment for orders in the post-sanctions era, noting that other clients may have resorted to credit.

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.