PARIS–French integrated oil and gas major Total SA (TOT, FP.FR) Monday confirmed that Samsung Total Petrochemicals, its joint venture with South Korea’s Samsung Group, has resumed buying crude oil from Iran, but insisted it was complying with all international sanctions.
“Total complies with all legislations applicable to it. Neither Total, nor any of its subsidiaries are a party to such transactions by STC,” a group’s spokesman said in a statement.
The European Union and the U.S. implemented sanctions on Iran in July last year. The sanctions forbid European and U.S. groups, as well as companies doing business in Europe and the U.S., from buying Iranian crude oil as part of an embargo scheme designed to force Tehran to abide by international nuclear standards.
South Korea obtained a waiver from the U.S. State Department in June 2012, which was renewed for an additional six months in December. “Any purchase of petroleum products by any South Korean company is covered by this exemption,” the Total spokesman explained.
“South Korea has obtained an exemption from the American State Department under the Iran sanctions thus allowing South Korea to continue to purchase crude oil and petroleum products from Iran,” the spokesman added.
STC stopped acquiring Iranian crude last year while Total stopped using Iranian oil in December 2011, replacing it with mostly Saudi oil. Yet it has been recently reported that STC has been acquiring cheaper crude oil and petroleum products from Iran.
Samsung and STC weren’t immediately available for comment and the Total spokesman declined to comment on how much Iranian crude was acquired by its Korean unit and whether it was still buying oil from Iran.
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