ELPE to service 40% of NIOC debt with finalized products

Greek refinery ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) will cover at least 40 percent of debt owed to the Iranian state-run National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), estimated at 600 million euros, through supply of an equivalent amount of finalized products such as auto diesel to NIOC, the two sides agreed on Friday, it has been revealed.

An agreement on the outstanding amount owed by ELPE, prompted by banking restrictions that came with the western-imposed trade sanctions on Iran in 2011, needed to be found before the two sides could resume trading, now that the international sanctions have been lifted. The total debt amount owed by ELPE is scheduled to be repaid over a four-year period.

The measures imposed on Iran led to the gradual dilapidation of crucial infrastructure, including the country’s refineries. The deal will open the door for ELPE to Iran, a country with a population of 80 million, 70 percent of which is under the age of 35 and eager for consumption. Car sales in Iran are predicted to soon rise sharply, which will prompt a hefty auto fuel demand increase.

Details concerning the agreement last Friday between ELPE and NIOC – the first to be reached between Tehran and a western-world enterprise since the lifing of sanctions just over a week ago – have not been officially revealed following a request made by Iranian officials, energypress has been informed. NIOC is currently also engaged in similar talks with a range of oil companies, including BP and Shell, which also owe significant amounts to NIOC from the pre-sanctions area.

It has become known that ELPE’s deal with NIOC will cover 25 percent of the Greek refinery’s crude needs. The Iranian company is expected to begin exporting crude quantities of about 75,000 to 80,000 barrels a day to ELPE as of February or March. Last year, ELPE’s three refineries, in Aspropyrgos, Elefsina, and Thessaloniki, were supplied about 300,000 barrels of crude on a daily basis from various other sources.

Besides the new crude supply deal with Iran, ELPE also maintains a long-term deal with Saudi Arabia. The remainder of the refinery’s needs is covered via traders linked with Iraq, Russia, Libya, Kazakhstan, and Egypt. Last year, these countries, including Saudi Arabia, provided ELPE’s refineries with 13 million tons of crude.