Iran’s oil sale to Japan hits record high

TEHRAN, Sep. 13 (MNA) – In time with the decline in Japan’s oil imports from Persian Gulf littoral states, exports of Iranian crude to the East Asian country has reached a new record of 257 thousand bpd.

Iran has attained a new record in sales and exports of crude oil to Japan thanks to easing of restrictions on exports of oil, especially removal of insurance and shipping barriers.

After regaining its share from countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE, Iran has turned into Japan’s fourth-largest crude oil supplier while the position is expected to improve by one spot within weeks since Iran plans to overtake Qatar in oil exports rally to Japan.

Statistics reveal that Iran has deployed a daily average of 213 thousand barrels to Japan over the first seven months of 2016 and the figure for July reach the unprecedented figure of 257 thousand barrels per day (bpd).

In other words, expansion of Tehran-Tokyo ties is no more limited to signing developmental contracts as the East Asian country has turned into one of the largest customers of Iranian crude in the post-JCPOA era.

Presently, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar mark largest oil exporters to Japan for supplying 1.61 million, 821 thousand as well as 259 thousand barrels per day to Japan’s oil market, respectively.

A two-thousand-barrel gap between Iran and Qatar has brought about a neck-to-neck competition over gaining a larger portion of the Japanese oil market notwithstanding the fact that Iran and Japan are also fighting a nose-to-nose battle over expansion of South Pars joint gas field.

On the other hand, since the beginning of the year 2016, volume of daily oil sales to Japan by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait has fallen by 6, 23 and 8 per cent, respectively while Iran’s oil exports to Japan has experienced a 62-percent soar in the same time period.

Plans have been made to raise the share to 10 percent equal to 300 thousand barrels per day to turn Iran into the third largest oil supplier of to the Japanese though the greatest challenge facing Iran's return to the market is Japan's decreasing crude refining capacity.

In other words, the country's refining capacity has declined from 5.5 million bpd to 3.5 million barrels, because of which competition among oil producers for gaining the strategic market has intensified recently.

Several Japanese refineries have been purchasing Iranian crude over the past decade while TonenGeneral Group has been recently added to the list of importers. Reuters


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