Iran is expected to begin implementing the oil swap agreement with Azerbaijan in March, after a gap of five years, ABC reported. Iranian Deputy Oil Minister and Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Rokneddin Javadi, has stated that Iran will be importing crude into the Caspian port of Neka and supplying equivalent barrels on behalf of its Azeri partners in the Persian Gulf.

The oil swap deal was signed in mid February between the NIOC and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) allowing the two countries to swap Azerbaijan’s oil across Iran’s territory, Irna reported. Previously, under the arrangement, Iran received crude from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan in Neka for processing in its northern refineries and delivered an equivalent volume to the clients of those countries in the Persian Gulf. Tehran is interested to renew the cooperation in oil swaps with the other two countries and Russia.

In 2009, the average daily swap came at the level of 90,000b/d, which Iran planned to raise to 300,000b/d by 2015. Iran also charged the partners with a transit fee which totaled $880m between 1997 and 2009.