Iran halts Crude Oil exports to France and UK

Iran stopped exporting Crude Pil to French and British companies, the Oil Ministry's news website Shana reported, citing Alireza Nikzad Rahbar, a ministry spokesman.

Iran will give its Crude Oil to new customers instead of French and UK companies, Rahbar said. The halt in shipments followed a warning by the Oil Minister that the Persian Gulf country might act preemptively ahead of a European Union ban on purchases of Iranian crude planned to start in July, he said, according to the report today. Rahbar gave no more details.

The suspension of Iranian exports comes on the back rising tension in the Gulf over Iran's nuclear program, which has prompted the EU and the US to impose additional sanctions against Iran, restricting trade and financial transactions.

Iran, the 2nd largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, after Saudi Arabia, is already under 4 rounds of United Nations sanctions.

Iran threatened to halt Crude Oil shipments to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, France and the Netherlands when it summoned their Ambassadors to the Foreign Ministry on 15 February to protest against the EU's punitive measures, state media reported. Iran would end sales of Crude Oil to the 6 countries unless they agreed to long-term contracts and payment guarantees, state-run Press TV reported that day, without citing anyone.

EU nations together bought 18% of Iran's exports of Crude Oil and condensates, or 452,000 BPD, in 1-H of T 2011, according to the most recent data on the website of the US Energy Information Administration.

France purchased 2% of Iran's shipments, or 49,000 BPD, the UK took less than 1%, the data showed.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr. Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr. writes and publishes The Red Roadmaster's Technical Report on the US Major Market Indices, a weekly, highly-regarded financial market letter, read by opinion makers, business leaders and organizations around the world.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr has studied the global financial and stock markets since 1984, following a successful business career that included investment banking, and market and business analysis. He is a specialist in equities/commodities, and an accomplished chart reader who advises technicians with regard to Major Indices Resistance/Support Levels. www.livetradingnews.com