Is Sima a Front for Trafigura in Iraq?

By John Lee.

Four industry sources have told Reuters that Swiss oil trader Trafigura is still indirectly supplying gasoline to Iraq through another firm, despite being banned from participating in tenders for 2013 after buying oil from Iraqi Kurdistan.

Baghdad's State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) finalised a deal in November to buy 1.56 million tonnes of gasoline from a pool of suppliers that excluded Trafigura. The contract was awarded to Vitol, Glencore, BP and Sima, an Iranian-Azeri company registered in Fujairah with an address in Dubai.

But while Trafigura's name may not be on the suppliers list, traders say the firm is behind the gasoline supplies of Sima. They say a number of vessels delivering gasoline to Iraq's southern Khor al Zubair terminal for Sima loaded their cargoes from Trafigura's storage tanks at Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates.

"It's a well-known secret that Trafigura back Sima's deliveries to SOMO," said a gasoline trader. "Hardly a secret really."

In 2012 Trafigura delivered as much as 60,000 tonnes a month, worth more than $65 million at current prices.

(Source: Reuters)

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