Japanese refiner Cosmo Oil is looking at the possibility of buying more crude from Iran once sanctions on the Islamic republic are lifted and is also ‘actively’ looking into crude imports from the US, company president Hisashi Kobayashi told Platts in an interview Tuesday.
Speaking on the sidelines of a New Year reception hosted by the Petroleum Association of Japan in Tokyo, Kobayashi said economics will be key for any increase in the refiner’s Iranian crude oil imports and imports from the US, but added that ‘it is possible’ it will increase crude imports from Iran in 2016 after the lifting of sanctions.
Kobayashi said the Iranians had asked Cosmo Oil to increase volumes on a term basis but added that any additional imports from the country would be on a spot basis.
Kobayashi said that Cosmo Oil is likely to renew sometime soon its annual term contract with Iran for the April 2016-March 2017 period at the same volume as the previous year.
He declined to comment on Cosmo Oil’s current and prospective Iranian crude import volumes.
Tightened sanctions in effect since mid-2012 have capped Iran’s crude exports at about 1 million bpd of crude because of volume restrictions imposed on Tehran’s customers by the United States.
Iran will be able to increase exports by 500,000 bpd immediately upon the lifting of sanctions and by a further 500,000 bpd over the following six months to take export volumes back towards pre-2012 levels of 2.2-2.3 million bpd.