The latest market figures show that imports of crude oil from Iran by Asian clients in February jumped by about a quarter from a year earlier to levels last seen in 2014.
The rise – that has been reported by Reuters – came as shipments into India and South Korea roughly doubled weeks after international sanctions were lifted on Iran.
India’s imports last month grew 111.1 percent to 215,800 barrels per day (bpd), the most since December. South Korea’s imports hit a two-year high of 282,000 bpd.
The two countries – together with China and Japan whose imports from Iran remained steady – imported a total of 1.28 million bpd of Iran’s oil in February, up 24.6 percent from a year ago.
That was the highest volume taken by Tehran’s four biggest oil clients since they bought 1.37 million bpd in February 2014.
Aside from the greater volumes taken by Asian buyers, Iran’s oil flows to Europe have also begun to pick up after a slow start, the report added.
International oil and shipping companies have been eager to renew business with Iran since sanctions related to its nuclear program were lifted in January. Tehran’s exports may also get further support as progress has been made on reinsurance issues that had been hampering its oil trade, Reuters reported.
Iran’s First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said last week that the country’s oil exports had reached around 2.2 million bpd within two months after the removal of the sanctions on Iran.
Jahangiri said the figure marked a rise of 900,000 bpd in Iran’s oil production capacity.
In mid-January, a series of economic sanctions that had been imposed on Iran for multiple years were removed after a deal between the country and the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany – was implemented.
The sanctions barred foreign investments in the Iranian oil industry and also limited a low ceiling of 1 million bpd on the country’s oil exports.