Tags: EU | Iran | Oil | Embargo

EU Iran Oil Embargo Said to Be Likely Delayed by Six Months

Thursday, 12 Jan 2012 03:03 PM

A European Union embargo on imports of Iranian oil will probably be delayed for six months to allow countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain to find alternative supply, an EU official with knowledge of the talks said.

The embargo, which would need to be agreed by the 27 nation-bloc’s foreign ministers on Jan. 23, is also likely to include an exemption for Italy, so crude can be sold to pay off debts to Rome-based Eni SpA, Italy’s largest oil company, according to the official, who declined to be identified because the talks are private.

A ban on petrochemical products would start sooner, about three months after ministers agree to the measure, the official said. Oil prices fell as much as 1.9 percent on the news to $98.93 a barrel in New York.

“Work by experts from the 27 member states is in a very intensive phase,” Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for the European Commission, said by phone today from Brussels. “They are looking into different options for restrictive measures with a view to adoption on Jan. 23.” She declined to comment on possible phase-in periods or exemptions.

The phasing-in of the embargoes would satisfy the concerns of countries with the largest dependence on Iranian oil, including Italy, Greece and Spain, the official said. Those three countries accounted for 68.5 percent of EU imports from Iran in 2010, according to European Commission data.

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2012-03-12
Thursday, 12 Jan 2012 03:03 PM
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