LONDON Aug 13 Italy's Eni has been
unable to import Iranian oil for a second month running, due to
bank payment and insurance problems, despite having European
Union clearance to receive the oil to recover $1 billion in
debts, industry sources said.
An EU ban on imports of oil from Iran came into force on
July 1, but the bloc exempted Eni to allow it to recoup
long-standing debts it is owned by Tehran for work it undertook
in the energy sector, which are being paid in oil.
The West is seeking to stifle Tehran's finances to prevent
it from developing an atomic bomb, while Tehran says its nuclear
activities are peaceful.
EU measures have stopped European firms, which dominate the
marine insurance sector, from offering cover on Iranian crude.
Industry watchers say the measure has proved to be the hardest
hitting in the West's arsenal of sanctions.
"Beyond the exemption, they also need a vessel, insurance,"
said a crude oil trader who added Eni had not been able to
import any cargoes from Iran since July 1.
A spokesman for the energy company declined to comment.
Several traders said the difficulty in finding an insurer
for the deliveries from Iran was the main reason that Eni had
not received any shipments since the embargo.
"You can't even get one cargo insured," another trader said.
Iran's remaining large oil buyers, which include China, all
face complications due to tight Western sanctions, which have
halved Tehran's oil exports over the past year. India, South
Korea, Japan and Turkey, have had to issue sovereign guarantees
or started using Iranian tankers.
Eni's chief executive Paolo Scaroni told reporters in June
he expected the company to continue to take Iranian crude to
recover its debts.
(Additional reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Anthony