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Japan’s Showa Shell to keep Iran crude oil imports

Iran’s television network, broadcasting in English round-the-clock. Based in Tehran.

Wed Aug 1, 2012 4:3PM GM

Japanese refiner Showa Shell Sekiyu KK has announced that it will continue crude oil imports from Iran regardless of US and European Union oil sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The company officials said on Tuesday that Showa Shell has renewed its contract with Tehran, which had expired last March, and is currently importing 60,000-70,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Iran, Oil Ministry’s official news agency, SHANA, reported.

Tuesday’s official data showed Japan imported 207,812 bpd from Iran in June, up 6.8 percent from a year earlier.

Japan’s top refiner, JX Nippon Oil & Energy, which has a volume of 83,000 bpd with Iran, has emerged as the country’s biggest buyer of Iranian crude.

The report comes as Monday’s data by the Japanese Ministry of Finance show that Japan’s crude oil imports from Iran increased by more than 60 percent in June compared to the month of May as Japanese refiners ramped up their loadings from the Islamic Republic.

Customs-cleared imports from Iran increased to 170,389 bpd in June, compared to 106,162 bpd in the previous month.

Japanese industry and government sources announced on July 20 that the world’s third-largest economy loaded its first domestically-guaranteed shipment of Iranian crude oil after the US-engineered European Union (EU) oil embargo against Tehran went into effect at the start of last month.

The US and the EU have imposed financial sanctions as well as an oil embargo against Iran since the beginning of 2012, claiming that the country’s nuclear energy program includes a military component.

Tehran refutes the allegation, noting that frequent inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency have never found any diversion in Iran’s nuclear energy program toward military purposes.

MP/SS/AZ

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