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Is SA oil supply at risk?

Jan 10 2012 07:18

London - Opec's second-largest producer, Iran, sells large volumes of oil to China, India, South Korea, Japan and Italy. But Turkey, South Africa and Sri Lanka rely most heavily on Iranian oil as a percentage of imports.

New financial sanctions signed into law by US President Barack Obama on December 31 aim to make it difficult for countries to buy Iranian oil in an attempt to discourage Tehran's nuclear programme.

The European Union is expected to announce tough measures of its own against Tehran but an EU oil embargo could take months to come into effect. Some debt-stricken EU countries are worried an embargo on Iranian crude would hurt their economies, diplomats say.

Iran produces about 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude with another 500 000 bpd of condensate -light hydrocarbon liquids. Iran exports about 2.6 million bpd, of which about 50 000 bpd is refined products, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates.

The IEA estimates the EU imported around 510 000 bpd of Iranian crude oil and condensate in the third quarter of 2011, but detailed figures of imports from the agency for the EU are only available for the second quarter.

The top 10 buyers of Iranian crude last year were as below. Figures for OECD countries are from the IEA and for the second quarter. Figures for China, India and South Africa are for the first half of 2011 from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Country        Imports bpd      Percent Imports


1. China         543 000           10

2. India         341 000            11

3. Japan         251 000           5.9

4. Italy         249 000            13.3

5. South Korea   239 000       7.4

6. Turkey        217 000          30.6

7. Spain         149 000           9.6

8. Greece        111 000          22.6

9. S Africa       98 000            25

10.France         78 000           3.7

Sri Lanka imported 39 000 bpd in the first half of the year, IEA data show. It is completely reliant on Iranian oil.

Iran holds around 137 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, or nearly 10% of the world total, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2011.

Despite sitting on the world's second-largest reserves of natural gas, Iran's growing appetite for its own gas, combined with tightening international sanctions that have throttled its fledgling liquefied natural gas programme, have made it a net gas importer for most of the last decade.

Natural gas accounts for 54% of Iran's total domestic energy consumption, while most of the remainder of energy consumption is attributable to oil, according to the EIA.

iran  |  oil



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