Foreign companies can choose to receive crude oil instead of hard currencies for the goods they sell to Iran, the CEO of Iranian National Oil Company said on Wednesday, May 1.
Speaking to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)-run news website, Tasnim, Masoud Karbasian asserted, "There is a possibility for foreigners, who are inclined to deal with Iran, to invest in the country's oil development sector and receive crude in return for their commercial venture," Karbasian reiterated.
Iran has made attempts for years to attract investors, specially in its oil sector, but because of lack of transparency in its economy and tensions with the West, even Chinese companies have shied away.
On April 22, Washington ended six months of waivers that had allowed Iran's eight biggest oil customers to import limited amounts of petroleum from the country. U.S. called upon Iranian oil buyers to stop any further purchases by May 2, or face sanctions.
Retaliating, the Islamic Republic Minister of Oil, Bijan Namdar Zangeneh maintained on Wednesday, May 1, that Iran is exploring new ways of selling oil, adding, "We have agreed on new ways, but should study their process."
However, according to Reuters, only two consignments of Iranian oil are currently on the way to China, arriving there between May 5 and 7, but no one else has offered to buy Iranian crude.
Furthermore, according to Reuters, it is not yet clear whether the two consignments for China are destined for Iranian crude reserves there, or Beijing has really decided to continue buying oil from Tehran, despite U.S. sanctions.
At the moment, Iran has about twenty million barrels of oil reserves in the northeast port of Dalian on China's shores.
Meanwhile, Zangeneh dismissed Washington's decision to drive Iran's oil exports to zero as an "illusion."
The oil minister said Iran has no hostility toward its Persian Gulf neighbors but two countries, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have pledged to compensate for any shortfall in supply if Iran's oil exports dropped to zero.
Speaking at an oil and petrochemical exhibition in Tehran, Zangeneh also insisted that Washington cannot control the oil market “by mere statements.”
“The market conditions remain fragile” right now, he said, referring to Libya, where the Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar has led a month-long assault to take the capital Tripoli from the UN-backed government, and Venezuela, where violent clashes erupted after opposition leader Juan Guaido called on the armed forces to rise up against President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday.
In the meantime, the Islamic Republic President Hassan Rouhani claimed, "Even if we receive less money from selling oil, we will compensate the loss from another source, while continuing to sell oil."
Rouhani stopped short of elaborating on the term "another source." Iran often draws on its foreign currency reserves, which stand at around $50 billion but with U.S. sanctions in place it is hard for Tehran to access the funds.
In a speech broadcast live on state television, Rouhani reiterated, “America’s decision to drive Iran’s oil exports to zero is a wrong and mistaken decision” and Iran will not let it be carried out.
Moreover, Rouhani persistently said, “In future months, the Americans themselves will see that we will continue our oil exports.”
Earlier, he had contended that Iran has access to six ways to sell its crude which Americans are totally unaware of.
But Iran’s oil exports have steadily fallen in the past 10 months, as the U.S. withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Iran’s oil exports have been cut by 1.7 million barrels per day.
But the global oil markets are healthy, IEA stated on April 23, adding, markets are “now adequately supplied, and… global spare production capacity remains at comfortable levels.”