Iran General NewsSwiss firm halts its sales of gas to Iran

Swiss firm halts its sales of gas to Iran


ImageWall Street Journal: Swiss commodities trader Glencore International AG halted gasoline shipments to Iran two to three months ago, people familiar with the matter said.

The Wall Street Journal


ImageLONDON — Swiss commodities trader Glencore International AG halted gasoline shipments to Iran two to three months ago, people familiar with the matter said, a response in part to the rising prospect of heftier sanctions against the Islamic Republic for its nuclear program.

Glencore declined to comment. Glencore has long been one of the biggest gasoline providers to Iran, and the move could frustrate Iran's ability to meet its country's fuel needs.

Iran has for years been forced to rely on foreign gasoline — importing around 40% of its oil products — because of inadequate refining capacity. That dependence is a possible target of expanded sanctions.

International banks are increasingly reluctant to provide letters of credit for commodity brokers to facilitate gasoline deals involving Iran. The hesitancy was one of the reasons for Glencore's decision to halt shipments, said a person familiar with the matter.

The halt of Glencore's Iran business could also help the company prepare for an anticipated initial public offering. The U.S. House of Representatives last month passed legislation that bars any company that does more than $20 million in oil and gas business with Iran from doing business in the U.S. The Senate is expected to pass the bill early this year.

Global Insight Middle East analyst Samuel Ciszuk said Glencore's move could influence other gasoline shippers to follow suit.

European oil giant BP PLC stopped shipping gasoline and other oil products to Iran many months ago. Iran still has other gasoline suppliers, such as China, that could fill the gap.

—Andrea Hotter contributed to this article.

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