DUBAI, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Iran's oil minister said foreign oil companies that owe his country billions of dollars are likely to settle their debts in euros.
Greece's Hellenic Petroleum, Italy's Saras and Royal Dutch Shell owe Iran about $4 billion which will be paid back in euros, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh was cited by the ministry's news agency Shana as saying on Tuesday.
Shell has said it was ready to settle its debts to Iran, but Greece's Hellenic Petroleum is having trouble to pay Iran back and "alternative methods are being worked out", Zanganeh said, according to Shana. He did not elaborate.
He also said Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), Japan and Netherlands have started settling their debts to Iran's central bank.
Iran wants to recover tens of billions of dollars it is owed by buyers of its oil in euros and is billing new crude sales in euros, too, looking to reduce its dependence on the U.S. dollar following last month's sanctions relief.
A source at state-owned National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) told Reuters last week that Iran will charge in euros for its recently signed oil contracts with firms including French oil and gas major Total, Spanish refiner Cepsa and Litasco, the trading arm of Russia's Lukoil.
(Reporting by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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