Engen stops Iran crude imports

2012-04-04 07:13

Petronas’ South African unit Engen said it had halted all imports of crude from Iran after deciding the sanctions placed on the Middle Eastern nation were a risk to its security of supply.

“We have been working on diverting our supply since identifying Iran as a risk,” said Engen spokesperson Tania Landsberg today.

Engen, the biggest South African buyer of Iranian crude, is majority-owned by Malaysian national oil company Petronas.

While Landsberg would not comment on when Engen stopped imports, a Petronas source revealed last month that Engen had stopped buying Iranian oil from last month.

South Africa, and many other nations, has come under Western pressure to cut Iranian crude imports as part of sanctions designed to halt Tehran’s suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Last month South African petrochemicals group Sasol said it had found alternative supplies of crude oil to replace product coming from Iran.

Sasol said in January that its oil unit was procuring 12 000 barrels per day, or 20% of the crude required by its Natref refinery, from Iran.

While last month’s customs data is not yet available, South African crude oil imports from Iran leapt in February to $364 million (about R2.8 billion), from zero the preceding month.

The South African Revenue Service said Africa’s biggest economy imported 417 000 tons of Iranian crude in February, a dramatic reversal of a declining trend seen since October, when it imported 467 000 tons.

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