09:331396/11/4Belarus eager to purchase more Iranian oil as it cuts reliance on Russia TEHRAN (NIOC) _ Belarus is interested in raising crude oil purchases from Iran, Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh said Tuesdayafter meeting Belarusian Industry Minister Vitaly Vovk in Tehran.
Zangeneh said Belarus has already received 2 million barrels of oil in two cargoes from Iran which is looking for new customers in line with its bid to win back market share.
"Belarus wants to buy more oil from Iran, with more talks in this regard being held with the international affairs department of the National Iranian Oil Company," he said.
Zangeneh touched on Belarus’s interest in expanding upstream cooperation with Iran in the energy sector. He said Vovk was visiting Iran to discuss the formation of a joint economic commission.
Separately, First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri told Vovk that Iran was ready to meet Belarus’s demand for oil. Jahangiri also welcomed investment by Belarusian companies in Iran’s oil industry even as he stressed the need for the two countries to work out a mechanism for financial transactions.
For his part, Vovk underlined his country’s willingness to broaden relations with Iran in various industrial and scientific fields, saying his visit was aimed at charting out a roadmap for expansion of ties.
Belarusian oil company Bel Oil first lifted 600,000 barrels of light and heavy crude oil from Iran last February. The purchase came as Minsk looked for alternative crude oil supplies after Russia cut exports to the country in 2016 over a gas price row between the two countries.
Poland has also turned increasingly to Iran to replace Russia as its key oil supplier. Lotos became the first Polish oil refiner to ship 2 million barrels of Iranian oil in a one-off purchase last August before looking to a long-term contract.
Iran ships about 40 percent of its oil to Europe, regaining its lost ground in the continent which totally halted trade with the country after intensifying sanctions on the country in 2011.