Iranian crude export to the Asian markets in February jumped by about 25% from a year earlier to levels last seen in 2014, as latest market figures show, according to Press TV.
The rise came as shipments into India and South Korea roughly doubled in the weeks following the lifting of international sanctions on Iran. In February, India’s imports grew 111% to 215,800b/d, while South Korea’s imports hit a two-year high of 282,000b/d. The two countries – together with China and Japan whose imports from Iran remained steady – imported a total of 1.28mb/d of Iran’s oil, up 24.6% from a year ago.
In addition, in 2016, Japan’s oil import from Iran is expected to increase further, with local importers finalizing their annual term contracts at flat or slightly higher volumes than a year ago, Platts informed.
One of Japanese importers said Japan’s Iranian oil imports could show a double digit percentage growth in 2016 compared to a year ago if Iran offers competitive spot supplies, despite the country’s overall imports declining. A number of Japanese refiners and trading houses are looking at possibilities of taking additional spot barrels from Iran if the economics make sense.
Meanwhile, the Japanese parliament approved a record $7.8b budget for Iran oil shipping insurance in the fiscal year 2016-17, up 7% from the previous year.
Despite the lifting of US and EU anti-nuclear sanctions against Iran on January 16, post-sanction shipments out of Iran are facing problems due to the unavailability of protection and indemnity coverage from US insurers and ambiguity over reinsurance coverage from American reinsurers.