Italian energy major Eni hopes nearly $2 billion of Iranian crude it is still owed by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) will be exempt from any possible EU ban on buying Iranian oil, ENI’s chief executive said on Thursday.
Paolo Scaroni said Eni could make do without Iranian crude if the EU were to ban imports, but hopes repayments of the oil it is owed will not be affected, adding Eni saw an EU ban as unlikely.
“We are more concerned about the payments in crude that NIOC is paying to us,” he said.
Iran has been paying back Eni for decade-old deals in the country with oil for years but Scaroni said Eni was still owed nearly $2 billion, which the company believed would be exempt from a ban.
“We feel there is a difference between importing crude and getting crude for previous activities,” he said.
“Of course we will comply with any ban the EU imposes.”
The EU has not yet decided to ban Iranian oil imports, but EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told reporters on Tuesday there was consensus among European Union states on the need for a ban on Iranian oil exports to the bloc.
He said Iranian crude accounted for around 15 percent of Eni’s oil supply. If the company's Iranian crude supplies were to be stopped, he said the company could source more oil from Russia, Eni’s biggest supplier, and Libya, among others.
“I don’t see a major problem,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the World Petroleum Congress in Doha.