Asia’s August Iran Oil Imports Climb 81%

Asia’s August Iran Oil Imports Climb 81%Asia’s August Iran Oil Imports Climb 81%

Imports of Iranian oil by four major buyers in Asia in August jumped 81% from a year earlier, the biggest percentage gain since April 2014, as the producer recoups market share from rivals Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Economic sanctions targeting Iran’s disputed nuclear program were lifted in January, and it has been battling since then to regain market share lost during the previous four years that the sanctions were in force, Reuters reported.

The No. 3 OPEC producer has increased its crude oil exports last month to more than 2 million barrels per day, according to a source with knowledge of its tanker loading schedule, closing in on Tehran’s pre-sanctions shipment levels of five years ago.

 The top four Asian buyers, South Korea, Japan, China and India, imported 1.84 million bpd in August, government and ship-tracking data showed. That would be the highest in at least five-and-a-half years.

Japan’s trade ministry on Friday released official data showing its imports rose 31.4% from a year earlier to 235,612 bpd last month. India’s imports nearly tripled from a year earlier to 575,900 bpd, the highest in at least 15 years.

Imports by South Korea more than doubled, while Chinese imports also jumped 48%. Iran has also attracted new customers in countries such as Poland and spurred higher demand from existing buyers in Asia.

Iran has gained new customers this year. Japanese oil refiner TonenGeneral Sekiyu has bought its first oil from Iran since becoming independent from US oil major Exxon Mobil Corp, three industry sources familiar with the matter said.

The company bought the Iranian spot cargo through a trading house due to attractive pricing and the shipment arrived Japan earlier this month, the sources said.