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[SINGAPORE] Iran's state-owned oil company sold natural gas condensate to BP Plc for the first time since sanctions were lifted in January, marking the country's re-emergence as one of the world's top suppliers of crude oil and natural gas liquids.
National Iranian Oil Co (Nioc) will supply South Pars condensate to BP for loading between September and October, said an Nioc official, asking not to be identified because of internal policy. The shipment may be used by one of BP's own refineries or resold to other users, the official said by phone.
A London-based spokeswoman for BP declined to comment on the deal when contacted by phone.
The sale is a milestone for Opec's third-largest producer, which has been ravaged by sanctions targeting its nuclear program.
Iran has vowed to recover its lost market share by restoring its crude oil output to pre-sanctions levels of slightly over 4 million barrels a day.
The country also wants to revitalise its refining and petrochemical industries to improve the quality of fuel sold on the domestic market and wean itself off imported oil products.
Iran is also working with traders such as Trafigura Group, which lifted a cargo of Iranian Heavy in June in an attempt to expand its reach into the Chinese independent refining market.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc shipped a cargo of Iranian crude to Europe in July, while France's Total SA was the first oil major to resume purchases of Iranian oil in February this year.