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"Iran's state-run oil company is said to be in talks to sell more crude to oil trader Trafigura Group, including via a potential long-term deal, in a strategy that may help it break into the market to supply China's independent refiners. National Iranian Oil Co. may sell more of its heavy crude grade to Trafigura, according to people with knowledge of the matter... The supplies may then be resold to Chinese independent processors, known as teapots, they said, adding that the talks are ongoing and a deal hasn't been finalized... The potential sale of oil to teapots would help Iran's drive to expand market share in Asia after international sanctions were removed against the Persian Gulf state. The Middle East producer sells most of its crude via long-term contracts directly to refiners, and allows existing buyers to purchase additional spot cargoes. But it's now willing to reach Chinese private refiners via Trafigura because the trader would be better suited to supply the processors who typically buy shipments at short notice and in small quantities. Trafigura bought about 2 million barrels of Iranian Heavy crude from NIOC for June loading, with the tanker carrying the supply currently anchored off South Korea. Previously, the shipment floated for three weeks off the Chinese port of Qingdao, which is used by teapots to receive oil supplies. Earlier this year, Iran's rival producer Saudi Arabia broke from its usual practice of selling via long-term contracts to supply a cargo to a Chinese teapot refiner, in what Citigroup Inc. then said was a 'dramatic' shift in the Middle Eastern kingdom's oil-market strategy." (Bloomberg, "Iran said in Talks to Sell Crude to Trafigura for China Teapots," 8/8/2016).
"A middle man may be necessary to facilitate crude oil deliveries from Iran to the international market, a national petroleum official said from Tehran. Mohsen Qamsari, the director of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, said independent Chinese refiners made purchase orders for around 2 million barrels of crude oil. They have the permits, he said, but 'lack enough logistics and financial resources' to make further progress with Iranian transactions. 'We are now seeking a go-between for dealing with these refiners,' he said. Qamsari said that, so far, Dutch trader Trafigura was moving Iranian crude oil to the Chinese market. The director said talks are underway with the trader to move deeper into the Chinese market." (United Press International, "Iran looking for oil middle men," 8/2/2016).
"An Iranian crude cargo loaded by trading house Trafigura is set to arrive in east China this week, heating up the race among oil suppliers to meet the rise in demand for imports from China's independent refineries, trade sources said... Now, Iran is eyeing the new group of Chinese buyers, located mainly in eastern Shandong province, as it rebuilds its global market share after western sanctions were lifted in January. The National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) sold a 2-million barrel Iranian Heavy crude cargo to Trafigura, which was loaded in late June onboard supertanker Olympic Target. Trade sources with knowledge of the deal say this cargo is heading to Shandong, putting Trafigura ahead of other major trading firms in being the first to sell Iranian oil to teapots... The Olympic Target, carrying Iranian crude, is expected to arrive later this week, shipping data on Thomson Reuters Eikon showed. Trafigura is expected to move the cargo into storage tanks and then sell it in smaller parcels to teapots, the sources said." (Reuters, "Iran targets oil sales to China teapots via Trafigura: sources," 7/18/2016).
"Trading house Trafigura has loaded its first major cargo of Iranian crude oil for delivery to Asia, industry sources and ship tracking showed. Trafigura loaded the crude onto the Olympic Target tanker, capable of holding 2 million barrels of oil at the end of June, according to a shipping source. The tanker left Iran's main export terminal Kharg Island on June 26 and was now heading to Asia, according to Reuters shipping data. A spokeswoman for Trafigura said the company did not comment on day-to-day commercial activities. Iran's state oil firm is strict about the re-selling of its crude once it has reached an agreement with a buyer, which complicates deals with trading houses, industry sources said. With this cargo, Trafigura appears to have beaten its competitors Glencore and Vitol in securing a deal." (Reuters, "Trade house Trafigura loads first cargo of Iranian crude" 7/7/2016)
"The world's largest commodity trading houses are first in line to profit from the much expected return of Iran to global markets as Tehran and Washington enter into the final three-months of nuclear talks. While the global oil industry has been seen as the biggest beneficiary of a thaw, commodities traders including Cargill Inc. Glencore Plc, Vitol BV, Trafigura Beheer BV and Louis Dreyfus Commodities BV have a long history in Iran, helping to export its oil and import daily basics like gasoline, wheat and rice... 'We like other people have talked to the Iranians,' Vitol CEO Ian Taylor said in an interview. 'They used to be major players in the markets, but obviously none of us will do anything unless sanctions are actually lifted.'" (Bloomberg, "Top Commodity Trading House Line Up for Iran's Return to Market," 4/20/15)
"New York's top financial regulator has expanded a probe into whether reinsurance companies have written policies on international trade with Iran, which could potentially violate new U.S. sanctions. In a letter posted to its website on Wednesday, the state's Department of Financial Services asked reinsurers to explain their dealings with entities and people that have ties to Iran. The department also asked reinsurers to explain procedures in place to ensure compliance with the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012, which took effect on July 1. Twenty reinsurers are getting the letter, including Hannover Re, Lloyd's of London and Swiss Re, a person familiar with the matter said. Those reinsurers were among those contacted last month by the regulator, whose superintendent is Benjamin Lawsky, over their dealings involving Iran. Lawsky opened his probe after news reports that Switzerland-based Glencore Xstrata Plc and Trafigura AG had supplied thousands of tons of alumina to an Iranian firm that provided aluminum for Iran's nuclear program. The new law bans financial services companies that do business in the United States, such as insurers and reinsurers, from providing services to companies that trade with Iran." (Reuters, "NY Regulator Expands Probe into Reinsurers' Iran Ties," 7/24/2013)
"Switzerland-based Trafigura on Monday became the second major trading house to confirm that it had traded with an Iranian firm that the European Union says has links to Iran's nuclear program... Trafigura, the world's third-biggest trader in raw materials, confirmed it had supplied the Iranian Aluminum Company (Iralco) with alumina in exchange for aluminum, after an industry source said Glencore was not the only major firm sending such shipments. 'We can confirm that Trafigura has traded with Iralco in the past. In October 2011, a physical swap agreement was reached whereby Trafigura provided alumina to Iralco in return for aluminum for Trafigura to export worldwide,' the trader said in an emailed statement. 'No deliveries have been made or exports received since new EU sanctions were published in December 2012. The Trafigura Group companies are compliant with national and international law where applicable,' it added... A spokeswoman at the Swiss Economics Ministry declined to comment on the Trafigura contract, citing commercial secrecy. She said that Iralco was not currently subject to sanctions in Switzerland... Trafigura, which is currently considering listing subsidiary Puma Energy, is chaired by Claude Dauphin, who was a protege of veteran oil trader Marc Rich... In a settlement, Trafigura agreed to pay a $5 million fine after one of its tankers was intercepted on suspicion of carrying illegal Iraqi crude in 2001. It was not charged with smuggling and denied wrongdoing." (Reuters, "Second trading firm says it supplied Iranian firm linked to atomic work," 3/4/2013)
"Switzerland has previously expressed displeasure about sanctions against Iran, largely becaues it has represented U.S. interests in Iran for over 30 years. And, while Switzerland no longer imports Iranian oil, estimates show that one third of the world’s oil deals are brokered by five Swiss-based commodity-trading firms – Glencore GLEN.LN +1.25%, Gunvor, Vitol, Trafigura and Mercuria." (The Wall Street Journal, "Treasury’s Cohen Heads to Switzerland, Turkey for Sanctions Talks," 8/31/2012)
"Open sources reported that Trafigura sold gasoline to Iran in 2009 and 2010, but subsequently stopped in 2010." (U.S. Government Accountability Office, Report: "Firms Reported in Open Sources to Have Sold Iran Refined Petroleum Products between January 1, 2009 and June," September 3, 2010)
"Due to limited refining capabilities, Iran imports approximately 40% of its domestic gasoline consumption. Iran is the second-largest importer of gasoline in the world. That gasoline is supplied primarily by five companies: the Swiss-Dutch energy trading giants Vitol and Trafigura, the Indian multinational Reliance Industries, the Swiss trader Glencore and the French energy firm Total." (The Wall Street Journal, "Hitting Tehran Where It Hurts," 7/13/09)
"Because of a lack of domestic refining capacity, oil-rich Iran is dependent on gasoline imports to meet about 40 percent of domestic consumption. Iran gets most of its gasoline imports from the Swiss firm Vitol, the Swiss/Dutch firm Trafigura, France's Total, the Swiss firm Glencore and British Petroleum, as well as the Indian firm Reliance." (Agence-France Press, "US lawmakers target Iran gasoline imports," 6/23/09)
"In recent months, Iran has, according to the respected trade publication International Oil Daily and other sources including the U.S. government, purchased nearly all of this gasoline from just five companies, four of them European: the Swiss firm Vitol; the Swiss/Dutch firm Trafigura; the French firm Total; British Petroleum; and one Indian company, Reliance Industries." (The Wall Street Journal, "How To Put The Squeeze On Iran," 11/13/08)
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