The latest official figures show that Iran’s exports of crude oil to Japan increased by almost a quarter from January to August.
Figures released by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry show that Iran’s oil exports to Japan during the period stood at an average of about 216,000 barrels per day (bpd). This is about 26 percent higher than the volume of Iranian oil exports to Japan over the same period last year.
On a related front, Reuters reported that Japan’s oil refiner Showa Shell Sekiyu had purchased 55 percent of the country’s total crude imports from Iran from January to June. That was equal to an average of 113,000 bpd.
Iran is Japan’s fourth largest supplier of crude oil after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar.
Japan was one of the key clients of Iranian oil with 338,000 bpd of imports before Western sanctions on the Islamic Republic in 2012. During the years of sanctions, Japan continued to import crude from Iran, though at limited volumes, under a preliminary nuclear agreement.
After the removal of sanctions in January, Asian imports of Iranian oil have risen sharply. Imports by Iran's top four buyers - China, India, Japan and South Korea - rose to 1.56 million bpd in March, up 49.9 percent from a year ago. Before 2012, Iran exported around 2.3 million bpd, with more than half going to Asia, mainly China, South Korea, India and Japan.
The surge in exports points to Iran's success in regaining market share after the sanctions were eased.