US insurer says got White House okay to cover Iranian oil cargo

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A US-based insurer to the global shipping industry said it got the White House authorization to cover non-American companies shipping oil from Iran.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control on February 5 “prospectively removed” the restriction that previously prevented the American Club from providing cover for Iranian cargoes, the New York-based insurer said in a circular on its website, according to Bloomberg business networks.
The club is “now generally available for non-US person Members’ transportation of crude and products to and from Iran.”
In terms of Iranian exports, insurance “is where the biggest problem has been and now that seems to have been resolved, at least that’s one problem out of the way,” Erik Nikolai Stavseth, a shipping analyst at Arctic Securities ASA in Oslo, told Bloomberg.
It’s likely that European insurers will follow since the US club has been cleared to provide cover, he said.
Iran is trying to rebuild its oil output after sanctions were lifted in January that had restricted sales for the prior four years.
U.S. curbs on insurers weren’t eased at the same time as the restrictions on exports were stopped.
Iran is expected to increase crude oil production by 100,000 barrels a day, or 3.7 percent, a month after sanctions were lifted and by 400,000 in six months, according to the median estimate of 12 analysts and economists surveyed by Bloomberg in mid-January.
The American Club is one of 13 members of the International Group of P&I Clubs in London, who collectively cover more than 90 percent of the global tanker fleet against risks including oil spills.
The IG said just before sanctions were lifted against Iran that U.S. curbs were still causing obstacles to its members’ ability to cover Iranian cargoes.

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