Asia’s March Iran Oil Imports Rise 50%

Asia’s March Iran Oil Imports Rise 50%Asia’s March Iran Oil Imports Rise 50%

Asian imports of Iranian oil in March jumped 50% from a year earlier as shipments into India and South Korea have climbed since international sanctions were lifted on Iran's nuclear program.

The strong exports point to Iran's success in regaining market share in Asia after the sanctions were eased in January, Reuters reported.

Before 2012, Iran exported around 2 million bpd, with more than half going to Asia, mainly China, South Korea, India and Japan. Tehran has been banned from selling oil to the United States for decades, but it has a reasonably large customer base to offset the loss.

Iran's oil flows to Europe have also begun to pick up after a slow start though the country has struggled to increase oil exports because many of its tankers are tied up storing crude, some are not seaworthy and some foreign ship owners remain reluctant to carry its cargoes.

Imports by Iran's top four buyers—China, India, Japan and South Korea—reached 1.56 million bpd in March, up 49.9% from a year ago, government and tanker-tracking data show.

India's imports last month totaled 506,100 bpd, the highest in five years, the data showed. The nation's imports from Iran are set to surge to a seven-year high during the fiscal year of 2016/17, industry sources said.

South Korea's imports in March fell slightly from a two-year high in February to 264,452 bpd but were still 94.5% higher than a year ago.

Imports by China and Japan fell from a year ago. The following table shows Asia's Iran crude imports in bpd for last month compared to March 2015.