By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The Iranian oil industry has a significant impact on the economic development of the state as a whole. The country is among the top five world oil powers and ranks fourth after Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States.
Oil imports by Japan and South Korea from Iran should increase until May, as these buyers maximize the amount of oil they can buy before the end of the postponement of U.S. sanctions.
According to Reinitiv, February oil exports from Iran to Asia almost doubled to 1.38 million barrels per day.
The four largest buyers of Iranian oil in Asia - China, India, Japan and South Korea imported a total of 710,699 barrels of oil per day from Iran in January, which is 49 percent lower than in the same month in 2018, according to Thomson Reuters.
The U.S. sanctions against Iran, which came into force last November, drastically reduced Iranian oil exports to Asia, although Washington deferred eight countries, allowing them to import smaller amounts of Iranian oil within six months.
Buyers had to overcome problems with delivery and payment, which delayed the resumption of imports of Iranian oil by Japan and South Korea.
Iran is the fourth largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries OPEC.
The largest consumer of oil from Iran, China imported 377,038 barrels per day in January, compared with more than 500,000 barrels per day in December. However, Chinese imports in January remained above 360,000 barrels per day, which Beijing can import as part of the deferral.
In 2018, the Trump administration restored sanctions against Iran.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced in May that Washington was withdrawing from an agreement on a nuclear program with Iran. Trump also reported on the restoration of all sanctions against Iran, including secondary ones, that is, in relation to other countries doing business with Iran.
On November 4, 2018, the United States re-imposed all remaining secondary sanctions on Iran that were previously lifted under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This is the final action required to re-impose Iran sanctions since President Trump's May 8, 2018 announcement of the U.S.' withdrawal from the JCPOA. The U.S. initially re-imposed certain sanctions on August 7, 2018.
These sanctions imposed on Iran's port operators and shipping and shipbuilding sectors, on petroleum-related transactions with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO), and the Central Bank of Iran, on transactions by foreign financial institutions (FFIs) with the Central Bank of Iran, on the provision of specialized financial messaging services to the CBI and Iranian financial institutions, on the provision of underwriting services, insurance, or reinsurance and on Iran's energy sector.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz