Reuters: The European Union will not cancel or delay a July 1 embargo on EU countries providing shipping insurance for Iranian oil tankers, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said at an industry conference on Wednesday.
VIENNA (Reuters) – The European Union will not cancel or delay a July 1 embargo on EU countries providing shipping insurance for Iranian oil tankers, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said at an industry conference on Wednesday.
The ban will leave India struggling to find a way to insure oil shipments from Iran, Oil Minister S. Jaipal Reddy told reporters at the same OPEC-organized conference.
Major Asian importers of Iranian crude have been pressing the EU to reconsider as the embargo will cover the London insurance market – the leading provider of protection and indemnity cover for global shipping markets.
When asked about the possibility of a delay or cancellation of the insurance embargo, Oettinger said: “No, let me say this, we have a clear position starting with the oil ban on the first of July.”
India had just secured a waiver from Washington to tighter sanctions on Iran aimed at curbing its nuclear program after the world’s fourth-biggest oil importer cut imports from Tehran, one of its biggest suppliers along with fellow OPEC members Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Reddy said India was looking at ways to solve the insurance issue.
“We are struggling to find solutions, I cannot say beyond that,” Reddy said, adding sovereign guarantees were “in the process of examination.”
“We are continuing to import oil from Iran,” Reddy said. “Naturally because of many problems, with regard to insurance and all that, the percentage of our imports from Iran may not be as high as it has been in the past but our imports continue.”
He declined to discuss further any decrease in Iranian oil imports.
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi, also attending the conference ahead of an OPEC meeting on Thursday, said Iran has yet to “seriously” reduce its oil output as a result of international sanctions.
The International Energy Agency said on Tuesday that imports of Iranian crude by major consumers had dropped by 1 million barrels per day in April and May and that Tehran may need to shut in production.
(Reporting by Alex Lawler and Daniel Fineren, editing by William Hardy, Vienna OPEC newsroom)