Japan, S. Korea to Resume Iran Oil Imports

Japan, S. Korea to Resume Iran Oil Imports
Japan, S. Korea to Resume Iran Oil Imports

Refiners in Japan and South Korea are looking to resume Iranian oil imports from January after receiving waivers from US sanctions on Tehran, sources familiar with the matter said.
The unexpected resurgence in Iranian oil imports due to the waivers has helped push spot prices for Middle East crude and condensate to their lowest in more than a year, Reuters reported.
The United States in November granted exemptions to eight countries, allowing them to import some Iranian crude for another 180 days. Japan and South Korea were among the top five buyers of Iranian crude and condensate before they stopped imports in the third quarter ahead of the sanctions.
South Korean refiners are set to hold their Iranian oil imports at zero until the end of the year, and they may resume shipments in late January or early February as buyers are in talks with Iran to sign new contracts, industry sources said.
Last week, a South Korean delegation was in Iran to negotiate for 2019 supplies of mainly South Pars condensate.
Fuji Oil Company, one of Japan’s top Iranian oil buyers, plans to resume Iran crude lifting from January as well, and is also looking to buy condensate.
It was considering whether to sign a new contract for Iranian crude, its top executive said last week, adding that oil from Iran is competitively priced against rival grades.
Japan’s largest refiner, JXTG Holdings said earlier this month it may resume Iranian oil loadings from December.
Some sources said the sanctions waiver may allow Japan to buy around 100,000 barrels per day of Iranian oil. That marks a significant reduction for buyers that took about 165,000 bpd of Iranian oil in January-September.
Japan joined South Korea in temporarily halting Iranian oil loading around mid-September.


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