October 10, 2011 / 4:25 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Kazakh port loads crude for delivery to Iran -trade

* Vitol bought Neka cargo on delivered basis -trade
    * Russian barrels loading at Kazakh port -trade
    * Iranian swaps could expand if Kazakh ports ship more
    * Small 4,700 parcel a "test" cargo -trade

 (Adds trader comments, background on Russian shipments to
Kazakhstan)	
    MOSCOW, Oct 10 (Reuters) - A cargo of crude oil is loading
in Aktau and destined to be the first delivery from a Kazakh
port to an Iranian port in nearly 18 months, trade sources said
on Monday. 	
    Traders said the Russian-origin crude oil was purchased for
delivery into Iran's Caspian port of Neka by international trade
house Vitol, which is likely to use it as part of a physical
swap operation against Iranian-origin crude in the Middle East
Gulf.	
    A Vitol spokesman declined to comment in an email to
Reuters, saying the Swiss based trader did not comment on
specific transactions.   	
    Iran, its international trade curtailed by sanctions, has
been receiving crude oil from Turkmenistan's Caspian ports for
swap operations since July. 	
    Although neither the U.S. nor United Nations sanctions
forbid dealing in Iranian crude, many companies have chosen to
seek alternative sources to avoid financing and other
difficulties or penalties related to transactions with the
Islamic Republic.	
    The 4,700 tonne cargo is due to leave Aktau on Tuesday on
board an Azeri vessel, a port source said.	
    "The 'Bakukhanov', with 4,700 tonnes of oil on board, will
finish loading tomorrow at the Terminalex oil terminal," a
private terminal in Aktau, the source said. 	
    If this cargo were to signify a large-scale resumption of
loadings in Kazakh ports for delivery to Iran, it could mean a
substantial increase the potential volume of such swap
operations.	
    One trader called it a "test" cargo.	
    "If deliveries of the (Russian) blend restart, ... then the
next step will be an effort to restart deliveries of the
(Kazakh) producers' oil via the (Kazakh oil transport company)
Kaztransoil terminal," another trader said. 	
    Russian crude is shipped to Kazakhstan by rail at a rate of
40,000-60,000 tonnes per month, mostly for refining at its three
plants.	
 	
	
 (Reporting by Alla Afanasyeva; Additional reporting by Richard
Mably, Writing by Melissa Akin; Editing by Douglas Busvine and
Jane Baird)
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