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
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
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).
bpd Percent Imports
1. China 543 000 10
2. India 341
3. Japan 251
4. Italy 249
5. South Korea 239
6. Turkey 217
7. Spain 149
8. Greece 111
9. S Africa 98
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.