TEHRAN: The National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) has signed over 200 leasing contracts for its vessels since the lifting of the Western-imposed economic sanctions two years ago, Financial Tribune reported on Thursday.
“From the easing of the sanctions (in January 2016) until the end of last month, foreign companies signed 215 time-charter and single-voyage deals for NITC tankers,” the company’s Chief Executive Officer Sirous Kianersi was quoted as saying.
NITC signed agreements with France’s Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Spain’s Cepsa, Vitol, Hanwha Total of South Korea, India’s Essar, Turkish refiner Tupras, China’s CNPC, among others.
According to the report, Total, which became the first major western company to reenter Iran’s energy market after the lifting of sanctions, placed the first purchase order for Iranian crude in February 2016 alongside Cepsa and Russia’s Lukoil.
Leasing idle vessels is a source of revenue for the Iranian state oil shipping company that operates one of the world’s largest tanker fleets. NITC has yet to disclose the value of its contracts.
“The most lucrative charter deals belong to Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) with the capacity to haul up to 320,000 tons of products, followed by smaller types of carriers, including Suezmax (120,000-180,000 tons) and Aframax (75,000-120,000 tons),” said Kianersi.
Kianersi said Iran exports around 2.6 million barrels per day of crude oil and condensate, a type of ultra light crude, with NITC-owned vessels handling about 30 percent of shipments.
Most of Iran’s crude consignments are destined for customers in Asia, including China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.