Leap in Iran's Oil Exports to India, South Korea
India's oil imports from Iran more than trebled in January compared with the same month of last year and South Korea's intake more than doubled from a year ago as the Middle Eastern country continues to increase its output to reclaim its market share.
Iran used to be India's second-biggest oil supplier, a position that now belongs to regional rival Iraq after western sanctions over its nuclear program limited Tehran's exports and access to finance, Reuters reported.
In January, Iran was the third biggest oil supplier to India after Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Exports to India rose to 554,600 barrels per day last month, more than three times the shipments a year ago, according to ship tracking data and a report compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts.
In the first 10 months of its fiscal year, between April and January, India imported 532,800 bpd from Iran, compared to about 228,600 bpd for the same period a year ago. Average oil volumes supplied by Iran in April-January are highest so far.
Indian refiners, including Reliance Industries Ltd, operator of the world's biggest refinery complex at Jamnagar, which had stopped imports from Iran during the sanctions period, have also returned as buyers of Iranian oil.
South Korea, one of Iran's major oil customers, imported 1.79 million tons of Iranian crude, or 424,143 barrels per day, in January, compared with 859,223 tons a year ago and 1.55 million tons in the previous month, customs office data showed on Wednesday.
Iran, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, was exempted from a supply cut deal agreed by OPEC members last year.
Iran's current oil output was close to 3.9 million bpd, the country's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said last month.
The world's fifth-largest crude importer's intake of Saudi Arabian crude, in contrast, fell 17.3% to 3.32 million tons, or 785,084 bpd, in the first month of 2017 from a month ago, as the world's top oil exporter complies with the global supply cut deal.
Overall, Asia's fourth-largest economy imported 12.41 million tons of crude oil in January this year, or 2.93 million bpd, up 14% from 10.88 million tons a year earlier but down 6.3% from 13.24 million tons a month ago, according to the customs data.