Iran has reportedly sent a major cargo of its crude oil to a key Polish port in the Baltic Sea in what appears to be the first Iranian crude sold into this part of the market since January's lifting of sanctions.
Traders say they have seen more signs that Iran is clawing back the share of the global oil market it lost as a result of multiple years of sanctions.
Reuters has quoted trade sources as saying that a supertanker with Iranian crude is heading toward Poland's Baltic Sea port of Gdansk.
The Atlantas Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) left Iran's main oil export terminal Kharg Island laden with 2 million barrels of crude on 27 June and is destined for Gdansk.
VLCCs cannot dock in the Baltic Sea port but sources said the oil would be transferred to a smaller vessel to discharge in Gdansk, Reuters added.
It was not immediately clear whether the buyer was Polish refiners PKN Orlen or Grupa Lotos, or whether the oil would remain in Poland or be shipped to Germany, which is connected by pipeline to Gdansk.
Regardless of the ultimate destination, the cargo is the first Iranian crude sold into this part of the Baltic Sea market since January's lifting of sanctions, intensifying the battle for market share between top producers including Russia and Saudi Arabia, Reuters emphasized.
Before sanctions, Iran was exporting about 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd). July exports are expected to be around 2.1 million bpd, up about 70 percent year-on-year.
Apart from Poland, Spain and Italy among other European countries have also recently taken measures to import crude oil from Iran.
Iran’s media reported this past Sunday that Iran has signed a deal with Repsol S.A. to sell one million barrels in July to the Spanish energy company.
Earlier, two Italian energy companies, Saras SpA and Iplom SpA, were reported to have signed long term contracts with Iran over the purchase of crude oil.
The contract with Saras SpA envisages selling 60,000 to 65,000 barrels of oil per day to the company. Details on the deal with Iplom SpA have not been made available to the media.