Global oil and gas firms gear up for re-entry into Iranian market

Suzie Neuwirth
INTERNATIONAL energy firms are poised to re-enter the Iranian market later this month, when the EU is expected to ease trade sanctions on the oil-rich country.

In January, the EU granted “limited, temporary, and targeted relief” from embargoes targeting Iran’s key energy and financial sectors, which were originally imposed to deter the country from developing nuclear weapons.

The oil and gas sector is expected to be opened up to foreign companies when the sanctions are renewed on 20 June. The move is particularly significant for the global energy market amid concerns of geo-political risk impacting supply from key oil-producing nations Russia, Iraq and Libya.

But US sanctions will still be in place, which could hinder any firms that are financed by EU banks that use the US financial markets, warned Tom Stocker, energy specialist at Pinsent Masons.

Iran still ships oil to Asian countries unaffected by the sanctions, including China and South Korea. Exports rose 28 per cent to 1.33m barrels per day in the first four months of the year, according to Bloomberg figures.