Japan’s January Iran Oil Imports Fall 23%, Saudi Crude Rises

Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Japan’s crude imports from Iran in January fell 23 percent from a year ago to 1.67 million kiloliters, or 338,900 barrels a day, according to data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Oil purchases from Saudi Arabia rose 20 percent to 6.52 million kiloliters in the month. Japan’s total crude imports dropped 1.9 percent to 19.41 million kiloliters, according to the data. Oil product exports fell 41 percent to 1.544 million kiloliters, while imports gained 10 percent to 3.17 million kiloliters, the data showed today.

Japan, the world’s second-biggest buyer of Iran’s crude after China, is seeking an exemption to a U.S. law that would punish banks that do business with Iran. The nation is proposing the U.S. to cut imports from Iran by at least 11 percent annually from this year. The government has yet to reach an agreement and is still negotiating with the U.S., Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said last week.

The law, aimed at reducing Iran’s oil sales, will sanction any country’s financial institutions that deals with Iran’s central bank unless it’s determined that country has made “significant reductions” in Iranian oil imports.

The following table shows breakdown of grades Japan imported from Iran and Saudi Arabia in January.

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Iran
                      January           Year-on-Year Change
Iranian Light              83,052               -56.9%
Iranian Heavy             682,903               -19.4%
Bahregan                   30,947                  --
Forozan Blend             449,890               -28.2%
Kangan Condensate          43,205                  --
South Pars Condensate     192,931               -45.8%
Soroush                   187,595                  --
Total                   1,670,523               -22.5%
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Saudi Arabia
                         January           Year-on-Year Change
Arabian Light           2,128,869                30.7%
Arabian Heavy             665,567                23.9%
Arabian Medium          1,023,682                93.8%
Arabian Extra Light     2,464,503                -3.7%
Arabian Super Light       233,531                19.1%
Total                   6,516,152                19.6%
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Note: Figures are in kiloliters. Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yuji Okada in Tokyo at yokada6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net