Iran General NewsSanctions on Iran oil may block payments to Italy's...

Sanctions on Iran oil may block payments to Italy’s ENI

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AFP: Italian oil giant ENI said Thursday that a possible European oil embargo on Iran could prevent it from recovering almost $2 billion that the National Iranian Oil Company owes it in crude.

DOHA, December 8, 2011 (AFP) – Italian oil giant ENI said Thursday that a possible European oil embargo on Iran could prevent it from recovering almost $2 billion that the National Iranian Oil Company owes it in crude.

“We are a little bit more worried about the payments of crude that NIOC are making to us for our previous activities,” ENI chief executive Paolo Scaroni told reporters at the sidelines of the World Petroleum Congress in Doha.

The in-kind debt, which stems from contract work ENI undertook in Iran between 2001 and 2009, is worth nearly $2 billion (1.5 billion euros), he added.

“We feel that this will be exempt from any ban. We feel there is a difference between importing crude and receiving crude,” he said in response to questions on the impact an EU embargo on Iranian oil would have on Italy.

The European Union is beefing up sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme by threatening to hit its oil and finance sectors.

Iran supplies 13 percent of Italy’s oil consumption, according to the US branch of the International Energy Agency.

“Our refineries would be able to cope with this issue,” Scaroni said.

Analysts predict that EU sanctions on Iran’s oil exports will hurt European refiners which rely on crude from the Islamic republic to help power ailing economies such as Greece, Italy and Spain.

Iran, the second-biggest OPEC player after kingpin Saudi Arabia, produces about 2.3 million barrels of oil per day — 450,000 barrels of which is exported to the EU, according to the US Department of Energy.

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