* To buy zero or 1 Iran crude cargo in yr to March 2015, vs
1 cargo pvs yr
* Not considering active dealings on Iran crude
* Idemitsu likely bought around 2,000 bpd of Iran crude in
yr ended March
(Adds executive's quotes)
By Osamu Tsukimori
TOKYO, May 2 Japanese refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co
said it will buy either no crude or a maximum of one
cargo from Iran in the year through March 2015, a move that
could keep at bay any potential U.S. pressure over oil shipments
from the Islamic republic.
Idemitsu, Japan's third-largest refiner, bought one cargo in
the year through March this year, Taiji Hashidoko, manager of
Investor Relations Office, said on Friday at an earnings
briefing. He declined to reveal the volumes.
One Middle East cargo is usually around 600,000 barrels, and
Idemitsu has cut its Iranian crude volume for the year ended in
March to around 2,000 barrels per day (bpd) from less than
10,000 bpd a year earlier, an industry source familiar with the
"(Iran crude) accounts for less than 1 percent of our firm's
purchase of crude," Hashidoko told reporters on the sidelines of
its earnings announcement for the just ended business year.
"It is not that we are currently considering active dealings
Idemitsu, which sold 516,000 bpd of oil products globally in
the year ended March 31, did not reveal how much crude it bought
during the business year.
Hashidoko added that he has not yet received information
that the company has extended an annual Iranian crude contract
for this fiscal year, and added it would engage flexibly in
dealing with Iran based on the policy of the Japanese
As part of a November agreement between Iran and six world
powers, buyers of Iranian oil, most of whom are in Asia, are no
longer required to continuously reduce purchases from the OPEC
member for the six months to July 20 to qualify for a waiver
from U.S. sanctions every six months.
Japan has cut Iranian crude imports for the sixth straight
year last year to 177,414 bpd under pressure from the United
States and other Western powers to do so to push Tehran to
curtail its disputed nuclear programme.
Japan's biggest refiner JX Nippon Oil & Energy has cut its
annual crude contract with Iran by 27 percent to 53,000 bpd this
year, an industry source said in March.
(Writing by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Richard Pullin and