The US State Department has closed its sanctions-related inquiry into two shipments for Byco Petroleum Pakistan Limited (BPPL).

This is an exceptional feat achieved by the government of Pakistan as it has managed to clear itself of allegation of receiving supplies from Iran.

Byco, with refining capacity of 150,000 barrels per day, is the first refinery in Pakistan that has set up Single Point Mooring (SPM), a floating liquid port in deep sea for crude oil shipments.

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Earlier, the US inquired into two oil shipments brought allegedly from Iran. In this regard, US embassy officials visited the Petroleum Division following a report of the oil inquiry commission, which alleged that the company was smuggling oil from Iran.

The US embassy officials told Petroleum Division officials that the US State Department was concerned about the alleged oil shipments.

Meanwhile, the company discussed with the US authorities the option of a site visit to inspect records of oil shipments and extended its full cooperation to assist the authorities.

Company attorneys also held discussions with officials of the US State Department relating to two shipments of crude oil from Oman to Karachi in June and July 2020 on vessels MT Rhea (IMO 9256468) and MT Elsa (IMO 9237228).

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The management also provided complete record of maritime traffic to the officials, which showed that the oil shipments actually came from Oman instead of Iran. The US authorities reviewed the record and documents provided to them.

Sources said that the US State Department also told the company management that they had no evidence of violation of US sanctions based on review of transaction documents.

Sources added that the State Department then closed its sanctions-related inquiry into the two shipments without taking any further action.

According to the maritime traffic controllers, it is not possible for any ship to disappear or mislead anyone.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2021.

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