Japanese refiners have loaded Iranian oil onto an oil tanker for the first time since the US imposed sanctions on the Middle Eastern country.
Japan has joined the other three biggest Asian importers of Iranian oil to resume consumption after receiving waivers from the US sanctions that were imposed in November. China and India were the first to continue importing Iranian supplies after November, while South Korea resumed over the weekend.
Abdolnaser Hemmati, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran, said: “After China, South Korea, India and Turkey, Japan also started the process of importing Iranian oil.”
A company spokesman said a very large carrier, Kisogawa, loaded approximately 2 million barrels of Iranian oil on Sunday, which is expected to arrive in Japan on 8th February and is owned by Fuji Oil and Showa Shell Sekiyu – who both own 50% of the oil onboard.
However, Japanese imports may be short lived as two Japanese based buyers said they may not be able to continue following March, when their government backed annual tanker insurance expires.
After the sanctions were imposed, Iran’s biggest clients – Japan, China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Italy, Greece and Turkey – were granted waivers that allow them to import limited oil for another 180 days.