Shell to settle $2b oil debt to Iran soon
4/21/2013 9:02:25 AM
Under recent permissions issued by the EU and the UN, the oil company will settle its debt to Iran, which amounts to over $2 billion, Qasemi said.
For the time being, Iran is selling no oil to the European company, he noted.
In March, Shell lost money trading Iranian crude in 2012 shortly before a European Union embargo and still owes $2.3 billion to Tehran for oil purchases, Reuters reported.
The loss raises questions about Shell's decision to continue trading with Iran in the first half of 2012, taking advantage of an exception for pre-existing contracts, when many of its rivals had stopped.
The firm said its trading division generated gross revenue of $481 million in 2012 on Iranian oil purchases and a net loss of $6 million. Condensate and fuel oil purchases from Iran generated gross revenue of $631 million and a net profit of $4 million, failing to compensate for the loss in crude.
"None of these purchases has been paid for, and all contracts were terminated and activities ceased before June 28, 2012," said Shell referring to the date when sanctions on Iranian oil came into force.
"Currently, we have approximately $2,336 million payable to, and $11 million receivable from, National Iranian Oil Company. We are unable to settle the payable position as a result of applicable sanctions," Shell said.
Shell suspended all trade with Iran before last June but failed to settle its accounts with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) ahead of the embargo, which was imposed as part of the West's standoff with Iran over Tehran's nuclear program.
Shell ceased upstream activities and suspended new business developments in Iran back in 2010 and is closing its representative office in Iran, it said.
North Korea seek to import Iranian oil
Elsewhere in his remarks, Qasemi said that North Korea has put in a request to import crude oil from Iran.
IRNA quoted Qasemi as saying that talks are underway between Tehran and Pyongyang on oil exports.
A delegation from North Korea's oil ministry is currently visiting Iran.
Iran’s oil exports will average 1.38 million barrels a day in the current Iranian fiscal year starting March 21, 2013, the International Energy Agency estimates. That’s in line with the government’s budget expecting 1.3 million barrels a day, according to the report. 
Previously, Qasemi had said Iran has significantly developed its capacity to ship oil overseas despite U.S.-led sanctions.
Speaking to Press TV on Thursday, the Iranian oil minister said, “Today, we have to keep ability to transport the oil shipments more than the capacity we had even prior to the sanctions.”
“We have no problem in this regard. And we have other customers and, in fact, it’s not possible to ignore us in the global market. If Europeans do not purchase our oil, we have also imposed sanctions on them. We have other customers today and more than 60 countries today, in fact, are purchasing our petrochemical and oil products and derivatives,” he added.
At the beginning of 2012, the United States and the European Union imposed new sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors.
The sanctions, which prevent the EU member states from purchasing Iranian oil or extending insurance coverage for tankers carrying Iranian crude, came into effect on July 1, 2012.
The U.S.-engineered sanctions were imposed based on the accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program. Iran rejects the allegation, saying that as a committed signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.