VENTURES AFRICA – South Africa had not imported crude oil from Iran for a ninth consecutive month in February this year, Reuters reported on Friday, citing official data released on Thursday.
Africa’s largest economy has avoided crude oil shipments from Iran due to sanctions against the oil-rich Middle East state.
According to Reuters, South Africa used to import a quarter of its crude from Iran. However, it came under tremendous Western force to decrease the procurement of crude oil from Iran.
This was part of restrictions aimed at stopping Tehran’s suspected hunt for nuclear weapons.
Imports from Iran were at 285.524 tonnes in May last year. However, since June, Africa’s biggest economy had substituted the shipments with crude from other supplier countries.
Saudi Arabia is the major supplier to South Africa and others include Angola, Nigeria, Russia, Yemen, Ghana and Equatorial Guinea. Total shipments stand at 1.75 million tonnes.
Reuters reported that while the United States extended South Africa’s exemption from financial sanctions in December due to the Iranian cuts, Pretoria was still stopped by European Union sanctions that prevent insurance companies from underwriting Iranian shipments.
The news agency claimed the EU had not given any waivers though South Africa had been trying to win over Brussels because it has to pay more to get crude oil from countries other than Iran.
Reuters alleged South African refineries were designed to treat Iranian-type crude only and required modifications to accept other products.
Refiners in South Africa include Shell, BP, Total, Chevron, petrochemicals group Sasol, and Engen, which is majority-owned by Malaysian state oil group Petronas .