LONDON - Iran is using an Indonesian port in a strategy to keep up sales to buyers in Asia in the teeth of Western sanctions, according to shipping data and industry sources.
Two Iranian very large crude carriers (VLCCs) able to hold 2 million barrels each sailed to Batam Island in April, according to AIS ship tracking on Reuters, which tracks global tanker movements, before moving on to China.US and European sanctions aimed at pressuring Tehran's suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons have halved Iran's shipments, costing the government billions of dollars in oil revenue, since the start of 2012.
"Iran has been using this strategy for the past few months," said analysts at FGE, an energy consultancy. "The strategy is taking the crude to islands in Asia via VLCCs and selling it from there. It's a crucial stream of revenue for the country, so it's very important they sell as much as they can."