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Iran to reduce crude swap rates from January 2001

TEHRAN, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Iran's acting deputy oil minister said oil swap rates for Turkmen and Kazakh oil would be reduced from January 1, 2001, Hambastegi newspaper reported on Thursday.

Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, who is also Iran's OPEC governor, was quoted as saying the new rate would be $16 per tonne for Turkmen oil and $13 per tonne for Kazakh oil, because of higher transport costs.

The current oil swap rate for both crudes stands at $21 per tonne.

Iran receives Turkmen and Kazakh oil at its Caspian sea port of Neka for domestic consumption in the north of the country, and gives an equivalent ammount of Iranian crude to their customers from Iran's main oil export terminals in the south.

"With the new swap prices, oil transactions in the region will become more economic," Kazempour was quoted by Hambastegi as saying. Other newspapers carried similar reports.

"Regional countries planning to find alternative transport routes can now look upon Iran as the cheapest, safest and most effective option," Kazempour said.

He said if more than 10,000 barrels per day (bpd) were swapped, Iran would give an extra five percent discount and the discount would increase to 10 percent for oil in surplus of 20,000 bpd.

Iran currently swaps some 17,000 bpd of crude with Kazakstan and Turkmenistan but with the first phase of a pipeline from the port of Neka to Tehran becoming operational in January 2001, Iran's swap capacity for Central Asian oil will increase to 50,000 bpd.


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