Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Asia’s Iran Oil Imports

Asian buyers reduced their oil imports from Iran to 790,054 bpd in June, down from 1.37 million bpd in the same month last year. In the first six months of 2013, Asian imports fell by 22 percent to 961,127 bpd, Reuters reported today. Since oil sanctions against Iran started last year, oil exports are down 60 percent on average compared to pre-sanction levels.

And in spite of Rouhani’s victory in June presidential election, and only four days prior to his inauguration, the U.S. Congress is set to vote today to toughen the already harsh sanctions against Iranian oil industry, aiming to bring Iranian oil exports to a halt. The move would complicate Obama administration’s strategy to strike a deal with the new Iranian government over the country’s nuclear program.
"There is continuing pressure from the United States to reduce Iranian crude imports," said Robin Mills, chief analyst at Manaar Energy Consulting. "They are coming up with a fresh bunch of sanctions to reduce Iranian crude exports further." (Reuters, 31 July)

Last month, the U.S. government granted its third 180-day waiver on sanctions applied to Asian countries, including India, China and South Korea, for significantly reducing Iranian oil imports in the six months through May. Japan won its third six-month waiver in March. Japan's renewal will come up in September, while the waivers for the other Asian buyers will come up in November-December. The new legislation in Congress would practically stop those waivers.

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