The Monte Toledo oil tanker became the first to have delivered Iranian crude into Europe since mid-2012, after the economic sanctions on Tehran were lifted earlier in January 2016, Bloomberg reported.

The tanker carried a haul of 1m barrels of crude shipped to Europe in 17 days. The 275-meter tanker started offloading its cargo into a refinery owned by Spanish Cepsa, near Algeciras, a few miles from Gibraltar. By midday, the vessel had already pumped to shore about 20% of its cargo. Iran has thus reached out to restore its muted ties with European energy companies eager to return to the market.

The potential for more Iranian crude oil on the market has put negative pressure on crude oil prices weighed down by an oversupplied market. Iranian officials brushed off proposals from rival producers to freeze production at January levels.

Meanwhile, in February, Royal Dutch Shell, one of the largest energy companies in the world, said it would start paying back its $2.3b debt to the state-run National Iranian Oil Co. The debt was incurred in 2012 as reimbursement opportunities were blocked by the international sanctions imposed on Tehran, according to UPI.

The Iranian crude transports to Europe were halted in 2012 as Brussels had imposed an oil embargo on Tehran in an attempt to force the Middle Eastern nation to negotiate the end of its nuclear program. The sanctions were lifted in January 2016 as part of a broader deal, which opened new routes for Iranian crude exports to the European continent.