Russia denies reports of plans to import oil from Iran

Russia has denied reports that it plans to import oil from Iran under a bartering arrangement.

Alexander Novak, the Russian energy minister, said that Russia would not import Iranian crude.

It was reported this week that the Iranian energy minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Russia could start importing up to 500,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Iran as early as next week.

Mr Novak said the Iranian minister meant that Iran would sell its crude and potentially use the capital to purchase Russian goods, expanding bilateral trade.

He said that this agreement was based on a five-year memorandum of understanding that was signed last August.

“Russia is a producing country, we are not going to buy,” the minister was quoted by Russia’s state media outlet RT.

However, he added that Russian oil traders could help sell Iranian crude if the opportunity arises.

Iran is hoping to reach a final accord with world powers by the end of this month to lift international economic sanctions. The country pumps 2.8 million bpd, down from more than 4 million bpd a decade ago and a peak of 6 million bpd in 1974.

Other than Asia, Russia exports crude to Kazakhstan and Belarus as per the customs union agreement signed five years ago.

However, the landscape has changed with Kazkhstan nearly dropping crude imports altogether from its neighbour, while Belarus relies heavily on Russian supply, which makes up for more than 73 per cent of its domestic consumption.

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