The US has imposed its first set of sanctions for refined petroleum activities with Iran since it strengthened sanctions in July 2010. 

Seven firms have been sanctioned for activities in support of Iran’s energy sector, according to a 24 May statement from the US State Department:

  • Petrochemical Commercial Company International (PCCI) (Jersey-based)
  • Royal Oyster Group (UAE)
  • Speedy Ship (UAE/Iran)
  • Tanker Pacific (Singapore)
  • Ofer Brothers Group (Israel)
  • Associated Shipbroking (Monaco)
  • Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) (Venezuela)

The sanctions come after a 23 May executive order, granting the Treasury Department greater authority to enforce sanctions on Iran under the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), which was strengthened in July 2010 (MEED 16:6:10).

Three firms, PCCI, Royal Oyster Group and Speedy Ship, are considered to be among Iran’s largest current suppliers of refined oil products. The sanctions imposed will prohibit them from foreign exchange, banking and property transactions with the US.

“All three regularly engaged in deceptive practices in order to ship these products to Iran and evade US sanctions,” says the statement.

Sanctions have also been imposed on Tanker Pacific, Ofer Brothers Group and Associated Shipbroking, which in September 2010 provided a tanker valued at $8.65m to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), a sanctioned entity for its role in supporting Iran’s nuclear proliferation activities.

Two of the companies are now barred from securing financing from the Export-Import Bank of the United States, from obtaining loans more than $10m from US banks and from receiving US export licences.

However, Associated Shipbroking, which is accused of acting as a front company for IRISL, will be prohibited from US foreign exchange banking and property transactions.

Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA has delivered at least two cargoes of reformate to Iran worth approximately $50m between December 2010 and March 2011. PDVSA is now prohibited from competing for US government procurement contracts, as well as financing from the Export-Import Bank and US export licences. Crude oil sales to the US are not affected.