Bloomberg News

Iran Oil Tankers’ Position Signals Spur Export Speculation

July 03, 2012

The number of Iranian oil tankers signaling their locations and destinations rose from June, prompting speculation the country facing U.S. and European Union sanctions is selling cargoes that were stored at sea.

Thirty-three ships in the 40-strong fleet of crude carriers controlled by Tehran-based NITC, a tanker company owned by Iranian pension funds, provided signals within the past month, IHS Inc. (IHS:US) data compiled by Bloomberg showed today. That compared with 21 in the corresponding period to June 11.

China, the biggest buyer of Iranian crude, was exempted June 28 from U.S. sanctions that took effect that day. Japan, Singapore and India are among 20 nations that also received waivers. Iran, which faces an EU embargo begun July 1, raised storage on tankers to as much as 42 million barrels by the end of May, the International Energy Agency said June 13. It also stored in the second quarters of 2008 and 2010.

“Maybe they sold the cargoes and they are en route,” Sverre Bjorn Svenning, a shipping analyst at Fearnley Consultants A/S in Oslo, said by phone today. “Since there are exemptions for these major Asian importers, perhaps they are able to sell the cargoes.”

About 65 percent of NITC’s fleet is bound for ports in the Persian Gulf, according to the latest data from IHS. The remaining tankers were heading for destinations including Asia, Egypt and Venezuela, the data show.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps “successfully” fired several long- and shorter-range missiles during military exercises that began yesterday, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. Missiles with ranges of as much as 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) were tested against bases modeled after those of enemies outside the region, General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said, according to a report by the state-run Mehr news agency. Dozens of Shahab-3 missiles were fired, Mehr said separately.

To contact the reporters on this story: Rob Sheridan in London at rsheridan6@bloomberg.net; Michelle Wiese Bockmann in London at mwiesebockma@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net


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