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UPDATE 1-Petronas S.Africa unit Engen ends Iran crude imports
April 4, 2012 / 6:20 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Petronas S.Africa unit Engen ends Iran crude imports

* Engen halts imports from Iran

* Iran identified as risk to security of supply

* Iran accounts for quarter of crude supplied to Africa’s biggest economy (Adds quote and background)

JOHANNESBURG, April 4 (Reuters) - Petronas’ South African unit Engen said on Wednesday it had halted all imports of crude from Iran after deciding the sanctions placed on the Middle Eastern country were a risk to its security of supply.

“We have been working on diverting our supply since identifying Iran as a risk,” said Engen spokeswoman Tania Landsberg.

Engen, the biggest South African buyer of Iranian crude, is majority-owned by Malaysian national oil company Petronas .

While Landsberg would not comment on when Engen stopped imports, a Petronas source told Reuters last month Engen had stopped buying Iranian oil from March.

South Africa has come under Western pressure to cut Iranian crude imports as part of sanctions designed to halt Tehran’s suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Last month South African petrochemicals group Sasol said it had found alternative supplies of crude oil to replace product coming from Iran.

Sasol said in January its oil unit was procuring 12,000 barrels per day, or 20 percent of the crude required by its Natref refinery, from Iran.

While March customs data is not yet available, South African crude oil imports from Iran leapt in February to $364 million, from zero the preceding month.

The Revenue Service said Africa’s biggest economy imported 417,000 tonnes of Iranian crude in February, a dramatic reversal of a declining trend seen since October, when it imported 467,000 tonnes. [ID:nL6E8F21TF} (Reporting by Sherilee Lakmidas; editing by David Dolan)

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