TEHRAN (NIOC) _ An Iranian Petroleum Ministry official says the Anglo-Dutch energy giant, Royal Dutch Shell, will pay its outstanding debt of some three billion dollars to Iran once the country’s banking restrictions are fully removed.
Deputy Minister of Petroleum, Amir Hossein Zamaninia said initial steps for Shell’s debt payment have been taken and they will repay the dues soon.
The official pointed to negotiations between the energy giant and Iran’s Petroleum Ministry and the Central Bank over the issue, saying the company has expressed readiness to settle the debt upon the restoration of banking transactions.
Zamaninia also spoke of talks on debt payment by Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum during recent discussions between the two countries, and noted that bilateral oil discussions will finalize during an upcoming visit by the Greek premier to Iran next week.
Shell’s debt of $2.7 billion stems from Iranian oil deliveries in 2011 and 2012 that the company was unable to pay because of the sanctions.
Last month, an energy official in Tehran said the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Shell had reached a final deal on how the Anglo-Dutch firm must clear the debt.
The company was involved in the development of Iran’s Soroush and Norouz oil fields in Persian Gulf waters. It was also planning to develop a gas liquefaction project called Persian LNG in Iran’s South Pars energy zone. However, it later cancelled its plans to that effect as a result of the sanctions.
International banks have over the past few years been unable to process Iranian transactions since the country was cut off from the SWIFT financial-transactions system. But following the recent restoration of SWIFT, most of them are now reconnected to the global system.