UN Keeps Vigil Eye On Iraqi Surcharge

Monday, December 11, 2000
There is no chance of the United Nations turning a blind eye to any oil companies that pay a surcharge that Iraq is continuing to demand for its oil exports, United Nations diplomats said. "No way are we going to be turning a blind eye to this," one diplomat said when asked if the United Nations could overlook such payments."Industry sources said that Iraq is insisting that customers for its crude under the United Nations oil-for-food program pay a 40 cents per barrel surcharge direct to an Iraqi account before liftings resume. Under U.N. rules all revenues from oil-for-food go direct to a U.N. escrow account. Iraq's oil exports have been stopped for ten days on disputes over payments. A tanker chartered to the Indian Oil Corp (IOC) moved alongside at the Iraqi port of Mina al-Bakr on Monday, an industry source said. The tanker was one of six anchored that have been waiting outside the terminal to load crude since the suspension by Iraq of oil sales on December 1. "It's one step from berthing but that doesn't necessarily mean its going to start loading," the source said. A second tanker chartered to IOC is next in the queue at the port, the source said. Industry sources said earlier that buyers had been told they would have to pay a 40-cent surcharge, outside the terms of the U.N.'s oil-for-food deal with Iraq, to secure cargoes. There was speculation among dealers that state-owned IOC might have been excused the surcharge.

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