“Dragon Oil” and “ENOC” have put on hold deliveries of Turkmen crude oil to Iran.
Earlier this month Russian-flag vessels VF Tanker-20 and VF Tanker-13 delivered to Iranian port Neka three cargoes of Cheleken crude oil (around 6000 MT each). As it turned out, these liftings were arranged without official authorisation from Turkmenistan authorities, and shipping documents were issued for transit of this cargo to Europe through port Baku.
Since 11th of August both vessels are staying on port Aladja roads, waiting for further instructions. Most likely, this delay is caused by an attempt of «Dragon Oil» to receive official authorization from Turkmenistan authorities to deliver cargoes to southern destination. However, this attempt may take too much time or even completely fail.
On 8th of August the was an official visit of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow to Baku and the meeting with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, during which the Declaration on Strategic Cooperation between the countries, as well as number of cooperation agreements, including in energy and transport spheres, were signed. Within the given context, attempts of «Dragon Oil» and «ENOC» to deliver Turkmen crude oil to Iran, bypassing Baku, defy the spirit of agreements reached between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the top level.
It is also not excluded, that «Dragon Oil» put the deliveries to Neka on hold due to existing US sanctions against Iran. Despite the fact that a number of «secondary sanctions» against Iran were lifted, many restrictions continue to be in force. The consequences for companies that violate the sanctions regime could be quite serious. For instance, «Dragon Oil» risks to spoil relationship with financial institutes, as many of them having US offices (e.g. Emirates NBD, ABN AMRO, DBS Bank Ltd, Gulf International Bank, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank и BBK B.S.C), and with US oilfield service contractors (Schlumberger, Halliburton, Wetherford, etc), as well as risk to be blacklisted by OFAC.
It became known, that Iranian project is mainly promoted by the following senior officials of «Dragon Oil» and «ENOC»: Tayeeb Al Mulla from «ENOC Group», Moiz Saleem from «ENOC Singapore», Faisal Rabee Al Awadhi and Ahmad Assadi from «Dragon Oil». The active participation of the latter causes particular surprise, due to his US citizenship.
At the same time, due to the seriousness of the possible consequences of violation of sanctions and huge commercial risks, the management of «Dragon Oil» and «ENOC» themselves certainly should have doubts about the rationality of the project of supply Turkmen crude oil to Iran.
Information Agency PirWeli contacted the London-based “Dragonoil” Office on the phone number +44 20 7647 7800 in order to better find out these issues. They told us to write them the questions to their website and they would provide us with the requested answers. PirWeli sent the questions to the mentioned address; we will release the relevant information as soon as the answers are received.
PirWeli failed to contact the “ENOC Singapore” Office on the following phone number +65 62 351 551; “PirWeli” could not also contact Ahmad Assad on the phone number + 971 4 305 3445.