Iran reviewing options to swap oil with its neighbors that share a border with the Caspian Sea. File Photo by tcly/Shutterstock
TEHRAN, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Halted since 2012, Iran aims to resume oil swaps with its neighbors sharing borders with the Caspian Sea, a northern Iranian oil terminal agency said.
The official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that authorities in charge of northern Iranian oil terminals were in preliminary talks with littoral countries to the Caspian Sea to start oil swaps. Directors there said Iran has the capacity to swap about 120,000 barrels of oil per day, though planned expansions to port facilities could raise that volume to 1.5 million bpd.
"Through swap deals, oil of the littoral states of the Caspian Sea will be consumed in Iran, and the same amount of oil will be exported from southern ports of the country," IRNA reported.
Iran has long been searching for a way around the U.S. dollar to circumvent sanctions imposed by Western powers in response to its controversial nuclear program. Some of those sanctions were eased in January after Iran was verified as meeting the terms of a multilateral nuclear deal last year, though banking restrictions remain in place.
IRNA reports swaps were halted in 2012, when sanctions were initially tightened on Iran. Two years ago, Iran and Russia, both the target of Western sanctions, reviewed the potential for an oil-for-goods deal.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Iranian and Azeri counterparts to consider projects meant to exploit the strategic position of the Caspian Sea and its oil and natural gas assets.
In a statement, Putin said the nations could work together to create a regional counterpart to Western trade corridors.
All parties dispute territorial claims to Caspian waters and in the early 2000s, Azerbaijan accused Iran of a "grave violation" for alleged threats to an Azeri oil research vessel in the area.