Kuwait group sells Reliance fuel to Iran despite ban
Dubai, December 19, 2009
Kuwait-based trader Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) has sold petrol produced by Reliance into Iran, even though the Indian refiner has asked traders not to ship its fuel to the Islamic Republic, trade sources said.
Reliance Industries stopped selling petrol to Iran from its giant refining complex in April because of concern the US could impose sanctions on fuel suppliers to Tehran.
Reliance has also included a clause in its fuel sales contract which restricts those buying its petrol from selling on to Iran, a Reliance official said earlier this month.
But shipping and trade data showed IPG shipped a total 144,830 tonnes, or 1.23 million barrels, of petrol to Iran in October.
IPG loaded a total of four vessels between end-September and October at Reliance's oil terminal at Sikka, the data showed. The four vessels discharged their respective cargoes at Iran's Bandar Abbas oil terminal, shipping data showed.
US politicians have pinpointed Tehran's petrol imports as a target for stricter sanctions in the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme.
The US House of Representatives passed legislation on Tuesday authorising President Barack Obama to levy sanctions on companies that directly provide petrol to Iran along with firms that provide insurance and tankers to facilitate fuel shipments.
'IPG is selling Reliance cargoes to Iran,' said a trade source. 'But we don't know if there is an understanding between the two firms on the sale, or if IPG is doing it on its own.'
Data from Reliance's loading port of Sikka showed IPG was scheduled to discharge the four cargoes at a Middle Eastern port or Aden in Yemen.
But shipping data obtained from trading and shipping sources on port discharge activity shows that all four vessels unloaded at Bandar Abbas.-Reuters