Oil report

Asian imports of Iranian oil rise 58 pct yr/yr in Feb

    * Asian buyers take 2.01 mln bpd of Iran oil in Feb
    * The rise is 22.4 pct month-on-month
    * India, South Korea imports more than double

    By Osamu Tsukimori
    TOKYO, March 31 (Reuters) - Imports of Iranian crude by its
four main buyers in Asia rose about 58 percent in February from
a year ago when Western sanctions on Tehran had only just been
    Iran's top four Asian buyers - China, India, South Korea and
Japan - imported 2.01 million barrels per day (bpd) last month,
government and ship-tracking data showed, the highest volumes
since at least 2010, International Energy Agency data showed.
    Iran was exempted from an OPEC deal to reduce output by 1.2
million bpd starting Jan. 1, a victory for Tehran which has
argued it needs to regain the market share it lost under Western
sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme.
    Japan's trade ministry on Friday released official data
showing its Iranian imports came to 230,297 bpd last month. 
    Japan likely skipped Iran crude loading this month as buyers
waited for the government to extend sovereign ship insurance in
the new fiscal year that starts in April.
    The following tables show Asia's Iran crude imports in bpd
for last month and the year to date.
 Nation        Feb-17       Feb-16  yr/yr pct
 China       657,901      537,969         22.3
 India       647,000      215,800        199.8
 Japan       230,297      239,088         -3.7
 Korea       477,643      282,207         69.3
 Total     2,012,841    1,275,064         57.9
   Nation   Jan-Feb 2017   Jan-Feb 2016   yr/yr pct
    China       523,839        470,864         11.3
    India       598,400        192,500        210.9
    Japan       219,275        215,821          1.6
    Korea       477,847        244,183         95.7
    Total     1,819,361      1,123,368         62.0
 (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Edmund Blair)