Obscure private firms are offering Iranian crude oil at steep discounts to European oil traders as Tehran seeks ways to restore oil export flows hit by Western sanctions.
Traders who buy crude for European refineries say they are are getting daily calls offering Iranian crude, sometimes accompanied by the promise of fake paperwork to disguise it as oil from a different origin.
However, one dealer with a trading house said he doubted the private firms would able to shift much volume because of financial complications.
“The banks are so scared of the sanctions that they are policing any transaction even remotely resembling an Iranian deal. And without banks you cannot do much. Unless you are crazy enough to bring cash in a case,” he said.