Iran Seeking to Save Major Oil Deal with Vitol

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is in talks to salvage a $1 billion oil deal with Swiss trader Vitol Group as companies sever ties with the Islamic Republic ahead of US sanctions.

Iran is fighting to keep one of its most profitable oil deals, according to people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

The fuel trading arm of NIOC held discussions to extend or renew a deal in which Vitol is pre-financing the equivalent of $1 billion in exchange for future oil deliveries.

The deal was struck in 2016 after a previous round of sanctions had ended.

Iran’s agreement with Vitol has continued in recent weeks, with the company handling frequent deliveries to the United Arab Emirates.

But a person familiar with the company’s thinking said Vitol was likely to end the deal because Washington will prohibit business with NIOC and all Iran oil trades once US sanctions begin.

“Vitol is fully compliant with all relevant international sanctions and regulations,” a Vitol spokeswoman said.

An official with NIOC’s fuel-trading arm declined to comment on the talks.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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