Iran’s oil buy­ers to con­tinue im­ports

Iran Daily - - Front Page -

Iran’s oil buy­ers will con­tinue im­port af­ter the United States ex­empted sev­eral coun­tries from il­le­gal sanc­tions reim­posed on Tehran fol­low­ing its uni­lat­eral with­drawal from the 2015 nu­clear agree­ment.

A South Korean del­e­ga­tion in­clud­ing oil buy­ers is ex­pected to head to Iran next week to dis­cuss re­sum­ing Ira­nian oil im­ports af­ter a three-month halt, three sources with knowl­edge of the mat­ter said, Reuters re­ported.

South Korea is one of eight coun­tries that re­ceived waivers from the United States to con­tinue im­port­ing Ira­nian oil for 180 days. It can im­port up to 200,000 bar­rels per day (bpd) of Ira­nian oil, mostly con­den­sate, the sources said, with­out in­vok­ing US eco­nomic sanc­tions reim­posed on Iran on Nov. 5.

The East Asian coun­try was the third­biggest buyer of Ira­nian oil and also the largest im­porter of its con­den­sate be­fore it stopped im­ports in Septem­ber ahead of US sanc­tions.

South Korea’s con­den­sate im­ports from Iran stood at 159,770 bpd in Jan­uary-au­gust, down about 49 per­cent from 311,885 bpd in the same pe­riod last year, ac­cord­ing to Reuters cal­cu­la­tions based on the Korea Na­tional Oil Corp (KNOC) data.

Con­den­sate is an ul­tra-light oil pro­cessed at split­ters, typ­i­cally to pro­duce naph­tha for petro­chem­i­cals.

SK In­cheon Petrochem, a petro­chem­i­cal unit of SK In­no­va­tion ; Hyundai Chem­i­cal, a unit of Hyundai Oil­bank ; and Han­wha To­tal Petro­chem­i­cals, a joint ven­ture be­tween Han­wha Corp and France’s To­tal , are reg­u­lar buy­ers of Ira­nian con­den­sate.

Each of the three im­ported be­tween 1 mil­lion and 3 mil­lion bar­rels of South Pars con­den­sate a month in the first half of the year, the KNOC data showed.

Trade in lo­cal cur­ren­cies

South Korea will be pay­ing for Ira­nian oil in Korean won to es­crow ac­counts han­dled by the In­dus­trial Bank of Korea (IBK) and Woori Bank, ac­cord­ing to a South Korea’s For­eign Min­istry state­ment re­leased early this week.

Us­ing Ira­nian tankers

Buy­ers are also likely to re­ceive oil de­liv­ered by Iran us­ing tankers owned by the Na­tional Ira­nian Oil Co.

Ja­pan has also an­nounced re­sump­tion of oil im­ports from Iran.

The coun­try’s lead­ing crude oil whole­saler JXTG Hold­ings In­cor­po­ra­tion says it is pre­par­ing to re­sume im­ports from Iran af­ter the US is­sued a waiver for Tokyo.

“We will de­cide from (the stand­point of) di­ver­si­fy­ing our sup­pli­ers and eco­nomic fea­si­bil­ity,” said an of­fi­cial of the oil whole­saler as quoted by Reuters.

JXTG, which im­ported sev­eral per­cent of its an­nual crude oil sup­ply from Iran, stopped do­ing so in Oc­to­ber only weeks be­fore the US re­stored sanc­tions against Iran.

On Mon­day, the ad­min­is­tra­tion of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump re­stored all Iran sanc­tions that had been lifted in 2015 af­ter a nu­clear deal was signed be­tween the coun­try and the five per­ma­nent mem­bers of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil – the US, Bri­tain, France, Rus­sia and China – as well as Ger­many. Later, Wash­ing­ton said it had granted 180-day waivers to eight coun­tries, in­clud­ing China, In­dia, South Korea, Italy, Greece, Tai­wan and Turkey, from the oil im­port ban reim­posed on Iran by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Ja­pan is one of Iran’s largest oil im­porters. As of Septem­ber, Ira­nian crude oil ac­counted for 5 per­cent of Ja­pan’s crude oil in­take, and, as the head of the Pe­tro­leum As­so­ci­a­tion of Ja­pan, Takashi Tsukioka, com­mented in Septem­ber, Tokyo will try to main­tain a good re­la­tion­ship with Tehran de­spite the sanc­tions, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Reuters.

Turkey’s im­ports

Turk­ish En­ergy Min­is­ter Fatih Don­mez also said on Fri­day that Turkey has been granted a waiver of around 25 per­cent on US oil sanc­tions against Iran, amount­ing to around three mil­lion tons of oil an­nu­ally.

Speak­ing in an in­ter­view with broad­caster NTV, Don­mez said oil re­finer Tupras (TUPRS. IS) was look­ing at al­ter­na­tives to avoid any mar­ket dif­fi­cul­ties. He said the 25 per­cent fig­ure was ap­prox­i­mate and Ankara had not yet re­ceived an ex­act fig­ure.

He also said Turkey still had a con­tract to buy nat­u­ral gas from Iran for five to six years and added that Ankara would con­tinue to buy gas from Tehran.


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