By Aaron Klein
Iran’s biggest oil-shipping company, which boasts the world’s largest fleet of super tankers, is already preparing to return to European and international markets in the wake of any agreement in Vienna in the coming days.
At the same time, clearly anticipating massive sanctions relief, Iranian companies on Monday signed a $2.3 billion agreement to construct 800 miles of pipelines, which Iran has identified as its most critical conduit for future gas exports to Europe.
On Monday, IRNA, the official news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran, quoted a top official from the National Iranian Tankers Company, or NITC, saying Iranian tankers will return to European and international markets as soon as possible after sanctions are scaled back with the signing of a deal.
Until now, the NITC has been largely restrained by international sanctions imposed amid concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.
Shahram Farahbod, head of the NITC’s Insurance and Legal Suits Affairs Office, sounded confident when asked by Iran’s IRNA news agency whether he expects any deal in Vienna to get rid of what the news outlet described as “the nuisance of those sanctions.”
“It will definitely be so,” Farahbod replied.
The NITC is a subsidiary of the privatized National Iranian Oil Company. It transports Iranian crude to international markers.
The company owns 42 large crude carriers, or VLCCs, which can each carry about 2 million barrels of oil.
“No other company in the world owns that number of VLCCs,” Capt. Nasrollah Sardashti, NITC’s commercial director, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview earlier this month.
If the NITC can operate unrestrained, it would allow Iran to offer competitive prices that could rival or even trump deliveries from other Persian Gulf countries.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Iran’s ISNA, a news organization run by Iranian university students, reported on the $2.3 billion deal to build the Iran Gas Trunkline-6, which will transit Iraq and Turkey to ultimately deliver gas to Europe from the country’s massive South Pars field.
The pipeline will also deliver gas to Iraq, including for the supply of a power station there.
The contracts were signed by the Iranian Gas Engineering and Development Company and Pasargad Energy Development Company, reported ISNA.
In April, KleinOnline was first to report Iran was in the process of negotiating oil deals to take effect as soon as sanctions are removed with the signing of a final nuclear deal with the West.
This is according to Iran’s foe, Saudi Arabia, which transferred an intelligence report to the U.S. on the matter, a Saudi official with knowledge of the dossier told WND at the time.
The official said that during a meeting in April, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani discussed with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani the sale of discounted oil to Afghanistan after the international sanctions are removed.