TOKYO – Two of Japan’s biggest buyers of Iranian crude, JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp and Showa Shell Sekiyu KK, are set to keep their purchases from Tehran largely steady in 2015, their top officials said on Tuesday.
JX, which sources said imported 53,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian crude in 2014, will keep its volumes steady in the new term contract starting this month, Chairman Yasushi Kimura said on the sidelines of an industry gathering. “Iranian sanctions have been unchanged, so we will not increase or reduce volumes,” Kimura told Reuters.
Showa Shell Sekiyu also indicated its intention to keep its Iranian crude volumes steady at about 70,000 bpd in the fiscal year starting on April 1. “I don’t think there would be a big difference. Under the Japanese government’s policy, our firm is set to secure crude volumes that are necessary for stable supplies,” Showa Shell’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Shigeya Kato told reporters.
Japanese refiners have been making decisions about how much Iranian crude to buy after consulting with the government on how much they are allowed under Western sanctions on Iran.
Iran and Western world powers failed in November to meet a self-imposed deadline to resolve the standoff over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, extending talks for seven more months and allowing the Islamic republic to keep exports at about 1 million bpd, down by more than half from 2012 levels.
Other Japanese buyers of Iranian crude such as Cosmo Oil Co are also likely to keep their volumes steady under the new contracts starting in April, industry sources familiar with the matter said.
Cosmo in 2014 was lifting a little below 15,000 bpd, while Idemitsu has a contract for 2,000 to 3,000 bpd, sources said.
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