Shell to continue exporting Syrian oil


Royal Dutch Shell is planning to continue exporting Syrian oil in September despite fresh US sanctions and a looming EU embargo.

According to Reuters, shipping fixtures showed that Shell had chartered an 80,000 tonne vessel to lift crude from Syria's Banias port in early September.

Shell's crude oil cargo is scheduled to load on Sept. 2nd aboard the Neverland Star for delivery to the UK or European continent.

Shell, which at the moment would not be in breach of any sanctions if it bought the cargo to bring it to Europe, declined to comment on the shipment, saying the company always complies with international sanctions.

Shell is the operator of a joint venture, along with state run Syrian Petroleum Co. and Chinese-Indian firm CNPC-ONGC, that produces Syrian Light.

Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk, meanwhile, said it had canceled a deal to load naphtha in August. "It is due to U.S. sanctions," Michael Christian Storgaard, a Maersk spokesman, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Maersk is the first known to have stopped a deal involving Syrian oil after Washington slapped fresh sanctions on the country last week to ratchet up pressure on President Bashar al-Assad.

The European Union has agreed to explore new sanctions against Syria, although it is not clear whether the new measures would affect existing import contracts.

A loss of Syrian oil exports would have far less impact than the loss of Libyan exports. Syria consumes around two-thirds of its total output of 385,000 bpd.

Several governments have raised objections to banning the sale of refined products and equipment to Syria and whether the EU will adopt sanctions remains uncertain.

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