SA plans to cut Iran oil imports

2012-03-13 14:03

Kuwait - South Africa hopes to have a plan by the end of May for replacing Iranian crude that currently makes up a quarter of its crude imports, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters told Reuters on Tuesday.

The United States has pressured many of Iran’s biggest oil buyers in Asia to reduce their purchases in a Western push to starve Tehran of funds for its disputed nuclear programme.

Iran is South Africa’s leading crude supplier and makes up about 29% of imports by Africa’s biggest economy, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

US energy officials visited South Africa in January but did not make any formal request to halt or reduce Iranian crude imports, South African officials said.

“I would be lying if I said that the United States is putting pressure on us to cut Iran imports... but we are considering different avenues now,” Peters told Reuters on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Kuwait.

“We have given ourselves till the end of May to come up with alternatives, and we are engaging in talks with everyone, including Iran,” she said in an interview, adding that she had recently visited Tehran to discuss the issue.

Oil traders say Iran may have to offer steep discounts to keep its customers buying as pressure from Washington and Europe on Iran builds.

Iran has not offered South Africa cheaper oil to persuade it to buy more, Peters said, but South Africa will need to find cost effective alternatives to wean itself off Iranian oil.

“Price is certainly a concern for us and looking at the other options we have to consider the price,” she said.

Many refineries in the country, including the privately-held Engen refinery, are designed to treat Iranian crude and adjusting them to handle others would be costly.

“We are worried about (Engen), that’s why we are engaging in talks with the owners and everybody else,” she said, adding that Venezuela could offer a viable alternative to Iranian crude.

  • Penny - 2012-03-13 14:19

    Good move.

      JohhnyBGood - 2012-03-13 14:37

      Stuck in the middle with you . . .

      JohhnyBGood - 2012-03-13 14:45

      so am I. Now, now we just hang . . .

      Penny - 2012-03-13 14:53

      sounds good

  • Greg - 2012-03-13 14:22

    Bad move.

      Penny - 2012-03-13 14:31

      There are other suppliers of oil. If Iran is attacked for persuing nuclear weapons, then they might shutdown supplies to the world out of spite. It's best for SA then to be able to get our oil from elsewhere.

      Peter - 2012-03-13 14:42

      Hmmmmm .... I think government should, at the same time as this, find ways of reducing the taxes they impose on fuel purchases. Then price would not be such a huge consideration and concern. And, if the US want us to stop buying Iranian oil, why not sponsor us and sell us oil at reduced rates? U.S and China are exactly the same --- only looking out for numba wone!!

      Fanie - 2012-03-13 19:05

      Since MTN can't take cash out of Iran then the Govt must pay them locally and ask them to do an internal transfer of funds from their account in MTN Iran to the fuel traders in Tehran at a discounted rate for crude supplies between now and June when EU and US sanctions are applied.

  • Tony Lapson - 2012-03-13 15:10

    Either way, it won't be the government/royals/businessmen who will suffer, it will be the people. The poorest of poor. The people without a voice. The often ignored majority. Such is society.

  • Mouldy - 2012-03-13 16:18

    SASOL 4

  • John - 2012-03-13 16:44

    "but did not make any formal request to halt or reduce Iranian crude imports," Yea , right...

  • phathuchicos - 2012-03-13 18:44

    Really...why?????????????with petrol going up why make that pathetic move just because america says so...

  • Mboneni - 2012-03-13 22:37

    You obey orders or else

  • Dakey - 2012-03-30 16:42

    Nonsense! IRAQ also had WoMD for crying out loud and look what happened there? The USA are constantly cracking down on countries like Iran, N.Korea and Iraq for supposedly producing nukes, yet NO PROOF! No worries Iran, its OKAY for Isreal to be able to bomb the crap out of you, but not you? Nukes dropped on civilians (Iran: 0, USA: 2) Countries invaded in the last ten years(Iran: 0, USA 2) C'mon guys, don't make ME pay more for petrol just because the USA sais you can't get your oil from Iran. Grow a pair.

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