Shell Owes Iran $2.3bn for Oil
By Richard Blackden
The European Union introduced tougher economic controls on trade with Iran last summer in an attempt to force the country’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to stop an energy programme that Western governments believe is aiming to make nuclear weapons.
Shell said its trading and purchases from the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company stopped before June 28 last year, when the embargo began.
There is evidence that the EU controls, alongside US sanctions, are taking their toll on oil exports from the Middle Eastern country.
Iran’s oil export revenue tumbled 33pc in the first 11 months of last year compared with 2011, according to an estimate from the US Department of Energy.
However, while Iranian exports have dropped from the 2.5m barrels a day they averaged in 2011, the International Energy Agency said last week that they climbed in February as the country sold more crude to countries including China.
In its filing last week, Shell said of the $2.3bn that it is “unable to settle the payable position as a result of applicable sanctions”.
A spokesman for the company declined to comment further.
Under the sanctions, European banks are not allowed to transfer payments for oil to the Iranian government in Tehran. Since the oil embargo was imposed in July, the EU has extended economic sanctions against the country to include Iranian gas exports and shipbuilding equipment.
Shell added in its filing that it is closing its office in the Iranian capital.
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