An Iranian deputy minister says the country will soon resume oil sales to Italy’s state energy producer Eni.
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has already signed an oil exports contract with Italian refinery Saras, Deputy Minister of Petroleum Rokneddin Javadi said on Saturday.
Saras is currently buying 30,000-35,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Iran under the contract, with the volume expected to rise to 65,000 bpd soon, he said.
A contract with Eni would possibly see Iran selling 100,000 bpd of oil to the Italian state producer, Javadi added.
“Negotiations with Eni are in progress and a final agreement will be reached soon.”
Eni was one of the main buyers of Iranian oil prior to the sanctions.
Last month, a tanker for Italy’s IPLOM sailed back home after loading 1 million barrels of Iranian crude.
Another vessel for Motor Oil Hellas loaded crude at Iran’s Kharg Island and was about to deliver the first post-sanctions cargo to the Greek refiner.
France’s Total, Spain’s Cepsa and Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum became the first European companies to book Iranian crude for their refineries this year after the lifting of sanctions.
Saras, which is part owned by Russian oil giant Rosneft, used to buy a sizable portion of its crude supplies from Iran before the US-led embargo on the country in 2012.
The company’s representatives recently visited Iran with an Italian trade delegation led by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
Since the lifting of sanctions in January under a nuclear agreement, Iran has been ramping out oil production to claw back lost market share.
Iran’s exports shrank to about 1 million bpd after the West imposed new sanctions on the country in 2012.
Before the sanctions, Iran was the second-largest exporter in OPEC after Saudi Arabia, with exports averaging at about 2.3 million bpd.
The steady rise in exports points to the Islamic Republic’s success in regaining market share after the sanctions were lifted in January.
By Press TV