Iran plays hardball with European oil buyers, slowing exports

miércoles 9 de marzo de 2016 03:00 GYT

* Iran reluctant to improve terms, pricing to sell more oil

* Traders cite destination clauses, pricing as deterrents

* Many producers more flexible in market share battles

* Global oil exports graphic:

By Dmitry Zhdannikov and Alex Lawler

LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) - Iran has managed to sell only modest volumes of oil to Europe since the lifting of sanctions seven weeks ago and several former buyers are staying away, citing legal complications and Tehran's reluctance to sweeten terms to win back customers.

Tehran had been unable to sell crude to European firms since 2012 when the EU imposed sanctions over its nuclear programme, depriving it of a market that accounted for over a third of its exports and leaving it relying completely on Asian buyers.

Since the restrictions were lifted in January, Iran has sold four tankers - 4 million barrels - to Europe, including to France's Total, Spain's Cepsa and Russia's Litasco, according to Iranian officials and ship-tracking data.

That equates to only around five days' worth of sales at the levels of pre-2012, when European buyers were purchasing as much as 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the country   Continuación...