Asia's October imports of Iranian oil more than double from year ago

Last Updated: Wed, Nov 30, 2016 11:41 hrs
An Iranian national flag flutters during the opening ceremony of the 16th International Oil, Gas

By Osamu Tsukimori

TOKYO (Reuters) - Imports of crude oil by Iran's four major buyers in Asia in October more than doubled from a year ago as the producer continued to recoup market share lost under sanctions, pushed higher as the two biggest buyers India and China each took in nearly 800,0000 barrels per day.

Iran's top four Asian buyers, China, India, South Korea and Japan, imported 1.99 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, up 147.9 percent on year, government and ship-tracking data showed, marking the highest volumes since at least 2010, according to data by International Energy Agency.

The volumes were in line with the OPEC member's crude oil and condensate export plans. Tehran has been battling to raise its output and export levels since economic sanctions targeting Tehran's disputed nuclear programme were lifted in January.

Japan's trade ministry on Wednesday released official data showing its imports rose 32.1 percent from a year earlier to 202,000 bpd in October.

India's imports grew more than fourfold from a year earlier to 789,100 bpd, the highest in at least 15 years, and topping China's imports of 773,860 bpd, which were more than double from a year ago. Imports by third-biggest buyer South Korea rose 73.2 percent.

Iran and Iraq are resisting pressure from Saudi Arabia to curtail oil production, making it hard for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to reach a deal to limit output and boost the price of crude when it meets on Wednesday.

The following tables show Asia's Iran crude imports in bpd for last month and the year to date.

Nation Oct-16 Oct-15 yr/yr pct

China 773,860 338,300 128.8

India 789,100 181,200 335.5

Japan 201,847 152,851 32.1

Korea 227,452 131,323 73.2

Total 1,992,259 803,674 147.9

Nation Jan-Oct 2016 Jan-Oct 2015 yr/yr pct

China 618,866 536,500 15.4

India 456,400 212,600 114.6

Japan 224,166 170,093 31.8

Korea 278,882 124,036 124.8

Total 1,578,314 1,043,229 51.3

(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Michael Perry)

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