ELPE, Iran keen to resume trade despite debt dispute

A matter concerning outstanding debt owed by ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) to the state-run National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) after the international banking system had refused to complete a transaction covering an order received by ELPE when western-imposed sanctions against Iran took effect in 2012, was re-examined by ELPE managing director Grigoris Stergioulis in Iran, who joined Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on an official visit to the country this week.

The Greek officials visited the country as western-imposed oil and financial sanctions on Iran are expected to soon be lifted. ELPE is striving to secure four million barrels of Iranian crude per month, representing between 15 to 18 percent of the country’s production.

According to ELPE, the company’s debt owed to NIOC is estimated at between 500 million and 600 million euros. However, officials at the Iranian company consider the amount stands at 800 million US dollars, currently worth about 755 million euros.

Neither side is willing to stop progress towards a deal launching a resumption of trade as a result of the debt discrepancy, sources have stressed.

In the third quarter of this year, ELPE was supplied 65 percent of its crude by Russia and Iraq, ordering significantly larger quantities from these sources compared to last year. ELPE reduced its incoming supply of crude from Kazakhstan’s CPC pipeline. ELPE’s management intends to increase orders from Libya, Iran and Iraq.

Prior to the sanctions on Iran, ELPE’s crude orders from the country had exceeded 40 percent of the Greek refinery’s total orders. ELPE’s refinieries are set to work most efficiently with Iranian crude.