Iran Economy NewsGreek refiner says replacing Iranian oil is easy

Greek refiner says replacing Iranian oil is easy

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Reuters: Greek refiner Hellenic Petroleum, which heavily relies on Iranian oil supplies, said on Thursday replacing those deliveries would be “easy” and alternative grades from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Russia were being considered.

LONDON Feb 23 (Reuters) – Greek refiner Hellenic Petroleum, which heavily relies on Iranian oil supplies, said on Thursday replacing those deliveries would be “easy” and alternative grades from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Russia were being considered.

Hellenic needs to find an alternative for Iranian oil before European sanctions kick in on July 1. The Greek refiner said that imports from Iran made up around 30 percent of its oil supply over the year.

Data from Eurostat suggests the proportion may have increased in the latter half, rising to 58 percent in the third quarter.

But Chief Financial Officer Andreas Shiamishis said he did not expect the embargo to present a major issue, although he acknowledged the company was “enjoying open credit terms.”

The terms likely to be offered by suppliers of heavy grades that may act as substitutes after July 1 are likely to be far less generous.

A string of outages has already flipped former budget crudes to a premium to light grades and some countries are looking as far afield as South America to replace their Iranian supplies.

Greece’s precarious financial situation may present Hellenic with another headache.

In addition to finding suitable grades, traders and analysts say the refiner’s limited access to credit may further complicate the process of replacing Iranian crude.

“I tried working on that (supplying Hellenic) but I could not take the risk. It is out of my league,” said an oil marketing manager based in London. (Reporting by Jessica Donati and Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by James Jukwey)

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