Reuters: Japan’s oil industry is likely to cut its purchases of Iranian crude oil in about three months as Tokyo grapples with a new U.S. sanctions law, Akihiko Tembo, president of the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ), said on Thursday.
By Osamu Tsukimori
TOKYO, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Japan’s oil industry is likely to cut its purchases of Iranian crude oil in about three months as Tokyo grapples with a new U.S. sanctions law, Akihiko Tembo, president of the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ), said on Thursday.
Tembo, also chairman of the nation’s No.3 refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co, said his company was not in talks with oil producers to buy alternative crude supplies.
Japan is under pressure to cut its oil imports from Iran as a way to secure a waiver from Washington on the sanctions designed to hamper Iran’s ability to sell oil overseas.
Treasury and State Department officials are in Tokyo this week to negotiate how it can contribute to international sanctions on Iran. The two sides held a second day of meetings on Thursday.
Sources says Idemitsu buys 10,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil from Iran. Tembo declined to confirm the figures but said the company did not foresee any major impact on its business if Iranian oil imports are disrupted.
He said the PAJ and Idemitsu were not in deep discussions with the government about Iranian issues.
Japan’s refining industry has had no problems with banks over settling Iranian crude payments, Tembo said.
Iranian crude imports make up nearly 10 percent of Japan’s total imports.
Japan imported 312,000 bpd of Iranian crude in the first 11 months of 2011, down 12.3 percent from the same period a year earlier, trade ministry data shows.
The figure is down by more than half from 683,000 bpd in 2003. (Additional reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Neil Fullick)