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Sasol cautious on resumption of Iran oil imports

Oct 01 2015 13:56
Siseko Njobeni

Johannesburg - Petrochemicals group Sasol [JSE:SOL] has taken a wait and see stance on the possible resumption of crude oil imports from Iran, following the landmark July 14 agreement, which set the scene for the lifting of sanctions on the country.

Historically, Iran is a major source of crude oil for South Africa. At one stage, it was South Africa’s largest supplier of crude oil.

Sasol spokesperson Alex Anderson said the company has not had any talks about the resumption of crude oil imports from Iran.

Sasol has not imported oil from Iran since 2012. At the time, Iran supplied about 20% of Sasol’s crude oil requirements for its Natref refinery.

“We believe that the process to bring Iran back into the fold of global commerce would be conducive to enhancing global trade in the region. We have not engaged with, nor indicated interest to any Iranian official to resume crude oil imports from Iran,” he said.

The agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, makes provision for the International Atomic Energy Authority to verify Iran's compliance with nuclear-related measures. Once this has happened “and certain sanctions have been suspended, Sasol will reevaluate its options regarding importing of crude oil from Iran”, Anderson said.

He said the company currently imports crude oil on term and spot purchase arrangements from the global markets. At present the majority of Sasol's crude oil is imported from Saudi Arabia and West Africa, Anderson said.

When sanctions’ grip on Iran tightened a few years ago Sasol, which is listed in Johannesburg and New York, was among companies that divested their operations from the country. In 2013, Sasol sold its 50% stake in Arya Sasol Polymer, a joint venture with Iran’s state-owned Pars Petrochemical Company.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Iran is inviting foreign investors to actively develop the Opec member's energy industry after implementation of a historic nuclear deal reached between Iran and six global powers.

Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi said on Thursday that Iran "welcome(s) all oil companies, including the Americans, that meet Islamic Republic's requirements to invest in Iran".

Javadi said Iran will hold an "international oil and gas strategy conference" in Tehran to introduce potentials of Iranian private sector and connect them to foreign partners.

sasol  |  iran  |  industrial  |  energy  |  oil
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