Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Freight dispute risks delay in Iran oil to China - sources

(Reuters) - The delivery of millions of barrels of Iranian crude to its top buyer, China, is at risk of delay due to a dispute between refining giant Sinopec and shipper National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC) over freight terms, Beijing-based sources said on Tuesday.

China has turned to NITC for delivery of the 500,000 barrels per day of crude it buys from Iran as a result of European Union sanctions. The EU measures took effect on Sunday and prohibit European insurers, who dominate the maritime sector, from offering cover on Iran crude.

That left Sinopec unable to use Chinese shippers and forced it to use NITC.

No vessels have been named to carry the 12 million barrels of crude that China has nominated for loading in Iran in the first 20 days of July, industry sources told Reuters.

"There is some problem between NITC and (Sinopec's trading arm) Unipec over the freight issue," said an Iranian oil official who requested anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media. Read More