Asia Increases Iran Oil Imports
Imports of Iranian crude oil rose to their highest level in almost a year last month, despite Western sanctions targeting Iranï¿½s oil and petrochemical sectors that came into effect on 1 July. South Korea has admitted it could soon resume crude imports from Iran, only weeks after completely halting all of its Iranian crude imports on account of the European Unionï¿½s ban on insuring tankers transporting crude from the Islamic Republic (MEES, 9 July).
Data released by Chinaï¿½s General Administration of Customs on 23 July showed imports of Iranian crude had continued to rise in June following the resolution of a price dispute earlier this year which resulted in significant cuts in oil purchases from Iran in 1Q12. Chinaï¿½s crude oil imports from Iran were estimated to have hit around 633,000 b/d in June, representing a 21% increase from the 523,000 b/d posted in May 2012. This is the highest level since July last year when China was estimated to have imported 647,000 b/d on average.
South Koreaï¿½s Economy Ministry meanwhile revealed on 26 July, it was ï¿½highly likelyï¿½ his country would soon be resuming crude oil imports from Iran, without alluding to when exactly this may happen. South Korea became the first of Iranï¿½s major oil consumers in the Far East to put a stop to its oil imports from Iran.
Irano Hind Shipping Close To Shutdown
In a related development, the Iran-led Irano Hind Shipping Company is set to be wound up after failing to cope with the effects of the tightening US and EU sanctions, a company official said on 24 July. The decision comes on the back of several rounds of talks between partners Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL ï¿½ 51%) and Shipping Corp of India (SCI ï¿½ 49%) on how best to split the companyï¿½s fleet and assets. ï¿½The company has to be wrapped up,ï¿½ an unnamed senior company official told Indiaï¿½s Economic Times
. ï¿½There is a broad agreement over that. The two sides have also agreed to split assets,ï¿½ he continued.
With this move, SCI joins a growing list of Indian companies looking to distance themselves from Iran. Indian refiners have, since the start of the year, cut oil imports from Iran by more than 20%, making the country eligible to win a 180-day waiver from US financial sanctions.
© Copyright MEES 2012.