Iran to export over 14,000 tons of cement to Somalia
Over 14,000 tons of cement will soon be exported from the southern island of Qeshm to Somalia, said Pejman Bahrami, the deputy head of Qeshm Free Zone Organization for maritime transport and port affairs.
“A 14,500-ton cargo of bagged cement produced in Qeshm will be exported to Somalia on a Tanzanian ship named AMINA-H,” Bahrami told reporters in Tehran on Wednesday, Fars News Agency reported.
He added that the loading of the cement cargo started on Tuesday and will take four to five days.
Iranian factories have the capacity to produce over 80 million tons of cement and clinker per year.
Iran exports cement to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, the UAE, Georgia, Oman, India, Somalia and China.
Iranian officials have underlined the country’s capability to decrease dependence on oil revenues, stressing the US inability to reduce Iran’s crude sales.
According to Iran Cement Association Secretary Abdolreza Sheikhan, Iran produced 41 million tons of cement during the nine months to Dec. 21, of which 4.8 million tons were exported.
Each ton of domestically-produced cement is currently priced at $25-30 in export markets, which indicates that earnings amounted to $120-144 million, he said.
“Cement production during the nine months saw no significant change compared with a similar period last year, while exports of the product grew by two percent in weight, year-on-year. Afghanistan was our biggest export destination,” the official added.
India’s special financial mechanism for Iran trade is active: Envoy
Domestic Economy Desk
India’s special financial mechanism for trading with Iran has been active for six months, said the Indian Ambassador Gaddam Dharmendra on Wednesday, emphasizing that it has been fully operational during this time.
India guessed that the Trump administration would eventually leave JCPOA and reimpose sanctions on Iran, said the envoy, adding that for this reason, it created a special financial mechanism to ensure its trade relations with Iran would be protected from sanctions.
The envoy, who was talking at the Iran-India trade conference, held at the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, said that to maintain its business relationship with Iran, India had held very difficult talks with US officials.
We considered the last model we had with our business with Iran, said the official, adding that to accelerate business relations with Iran, we set up a specific financial mechanism.
On March 4, the IDBI Bank received the Indian government’s nod to handle import and export transactions with Iran, a move which would help in promoting two-way trade amid US sanctions on the Persian Gulf country, industry sources said.
According to sources, IDBI Bank has been identified to route the payments. UCO Bank had in the previous round of sanctions handled rupee payments.
Last May, US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, reimposing economic sanctions against the country. Some sanctions took effect as of August 6, 2018, while those affecting the oil and banking sectors began on November 4, 2018.
Iran is India’s third-largest oil supplier, after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. It was India’s second-largest supplier of crude oil, after Saudi Arabia, until 2010-11, but sanctions by the West over its nuclear program relegated it to the seventh spot in subsequent years. In 2013-14 and 2014-15, India bought 11 million tons and 10.95 million tons of crude, respectively, from Iran.
Bilateral trade between India and Iran increased to $13.8 billion in 2017-18, from $12.9 billion in the previous fiscal year. However, India’s exports to Iran were only worth $2.5 billion.
The Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) said that more banks should obtain permission for trade with Iran.
“This will generate healthy competition between UCO and IDBI, encouraging them to be more customer-friendly,” FIEO President Ganesh Kumar Gupta said.
Iran hunting for ships to keep exporting oil
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is discreetly scouring the globe for second-hand oil tankers to replace its ageing fleet and keep crucial crude exports flowing as US sanctions start to bite, Iranian and Western sources said.
Since US President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions in November, exploratory talks with South Korea for up to 10 new supertankers have stalled, Panama has removed at least 21 Iranian tankers from its registry and Tehran is now looking for extra vessels in places such as Vietnam, the sources said, Reuters reported.
Washington has put restrictions on Iran’s port, energy and shipping sectors but it has given waivers to the country’s eight biggest oil customers, which include China, India and Japan, so they can keep buying Iranian crude.
With oil exports accounting for an estimated 70 percent of Iran’s revenue, maintaining an effective fleet of tankers to store and move that oil is crucial for Tehran.
But potential sellers of used vessels are more wary this time round after a Greek network that helped Iran buy tankers under previous sanctions was blacklisted. Western insurers are also steering clear, complicating Iran’s attempts to export crude to US-approved buyers.
If Iran runs into difficulties exporting its oil it could have a significant impact. Besides the importance of oil for its budget, Iran is estimated to produce about 2.8 million barrels a day, more than nine percent of OPEC’s output.
“Whatever sector you look at, companies will keep in mind being cut off from the US financial system when deciding whether to trade with Iran,” said Mehdi Varzi, an independent oil consultant who has previously worked at the state-run NIOC.
NIOC hikes all April Asia-bound crude prices
The National Iranian Oil Company raised the official selling price differentials for all of its four crude oil grades loading in April and headed to Asia, a company source told S&P Global Platts on Wednesday.
For April, NIOC has raised the official selling price differential for its Iran Light crude destined to Asia by 35 cents per barrel to a premium of 75 cents per barrel over the average of Oman and Dubai crude assessments for the month.
NIOC has raised official selling price differentials for Iran Heavy and Foroozan crudes loading from Kharg Island in April by 30 cents per barrel each.
The Iran Heavy official selling price is now at a 45-cent-per-barrel discount to the average of Platts Oman and Dubai assessments in April, while the official selling price for Foroozan is now at a discount of 30 cents per barrel.
NIOC also upped the official selling price differential for its Soroosh crude heading to Asia in April, by 10 cents per barrel from March, the source said.
The Soroosh official selling price is now at a discount of $7.45 per barrel over Oman/Dubai.
Iran to overtake Qatar in South Pars with new gas phases
Each plant has a capacity to process 56 million cubic meters of gas per day and convert it to LPG, ethane, condensate and sulfur worth $5.5 billion a year at the going market prices, the ministry’s Shana news outlet said. The revenue, it said, will account for two percent of Iran’s GDP of some $427 billion.
Iran has divided the development of South Pars to 24 onshore phases, all of which are now operational, except for phases 11 and 14.
The refinery for Phase 14 is about to come on stream in the next Persian calendar year, which begins on March 21, according to ISNA.
Iran had awarded development of Phase 11 to a consortium led by Total, but the French company left the project after the US threatened to impose sanctions on companies that do business in the country.
When Total left, the China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) was to take over according to the contract, but the Chinese company also suspended investment in response to US pressure.
Nevertheless, state-run Chinese energy giant Sinopec has offered Iran a $3-billion deal on further development of an Iranian oilfield the two countries are already working on, the Wall Street Journal reported in January.
The offshore development of South Pars includes three phases. In January, ISNA said Iran was in talks with several domestic companies to extract more oil from South Pars after foreign companies abandoned the plan.
According to the managing director of Pars Oil and Gas Company, Mohammad Meshkinfam, almost 25,000 barrels a day of oil are currently extracted from South Pars oil layers. Qatar, in comparison, produces 300,000 barrels a day.
Iran’s development of the South Pars oil layers is still at the pilot phase, but the country sees positive prospects for 150,000 barrels per day of recovery from the reservoir.
Some 400 Iranian companies have been taking part in the development of the South Pars gas field through supplying equipment to related projects.
On Tuesday, Shana said the implementation of projects in South Pars has been delegated to Iranian consortia consisting of contractors, consultants and builders who are utilizing their maximum power and expertise.
Karim Zobeidi, the deputy for planning at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said there are currently 200 undeveloped oil and gas fields in Iran.
So far, only 42.4 percent of Iran’s oil reserves and 10 percent of its gas have been extracted, Zobeidi said, as he also touched on the country’s lower recovery rates.
“The recovery rate of Iranian fields is 10 percent lower than the average rate of recovery in the world,” Shana quoted him as saying.
The Kazakh Parliament on Wednesday approved a draft law on ratification of an interim agreement on a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union and Iran, Kazinform reported.