April 18 - (Reuters) The U.N. Security Council passed a fourth round of sanctions on Iran over its uranium enrichment programme on June 10, and tougher measures swiftly followed from the European Union and the United States.
Iran has called the moves “illegal and invalid”, but a number of oil companies, trading houses and international businesses have stopped transactions with Iran this year. It is extremely difficult to build up a complete picture of Iranian crude purchases because the information is not officially published.
Iran, the world’s fifth-largest crude oil exporter and an OPEC producer, exports about 2 million barrels of oil a day.
European refiners buy at least 238,000 barrels per day (bpd) from Iran, down from 608,000 bpd in a previous Reuters survey in 2008, while Asian refiners take roughly 1.4 million bpd.
China, eager to guarantee supplies for its fast-growing economy, is still a keen buyer, while some refiners elsewhere have reduced their exposure to Iranian crude, according to industry sources.
For example, India’s largest private refiner, Reliance Industries (RELI.BO), will not renew a contract to import crude oil from Iran for financial year 2010, two sources familiar with the supply deal said on April 1. [ID:nSGE630033]
For Chinese refiners, the table below shows official term contract volumes with Iran, although actual supplies can vary. Chinese firms have contracts to lift about 440,000 bpd.
Following are industry estimates of Iran’s export volumes by customer. Volumes are in thousand barrels per day: CUSTOMER VOLUME ASIA CUSTOMER VOLUME EUROPE Zhuhai Zhenrong (China) 240 Tupras (Turkey) 63 Sinopec (China) 200 Cepsa (Spain) 25 MRPL (India) 130 Hellenic (Greece) 60 Nippon Oil (Japan) 120 Repsol (Spain) 80 SK Energy (S. Korea) 120 Petrogal (Portugal) 10 Hyundai Oilbank (S. Korea) 70 Showa Shell (Japan) 120 TOTAL EUROPE 238 Toyota Tsushu (Japan) 50 Essar Oil (India) 50 Cosmo Oil (Japan) 45 Japan Energy (Japan) 75 IOC 35 HPCL (India) 60 Mitsui (Japan) 15 Mitsubishi (Japan) 35 Itochu (Japan) 5 BPCL (India) 5 Kanematsu (Japan) 15 Idemitsu Kosan (Japan) 12 Marubeni (Japan) 10 Essar Oil (India) 50 TOTAL ASIA 1,462
(For a related Q+A, click on [ID:nLDE65H11K])
(Compiled by Reuters London energy desk, reporting by Beijing, Singapore, Milan, Madrid, Dubai, Paris and Tokyo bureaux, editing by Jane Baird)