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Japan’s top refiner mulls resuming oil imports from Iran

Japan’s top crude refiner Eneos Holdings Inc says it is considering a resumption of oil imports from Iran.

The top crude oil refiner in Japan has declared it has plans to resume oil imports from Iran amid growing interest among Asian peers to follow the suit.

Chairman of Eneos Holdings Inc Tsutomu Sugimori said on Thursday that the Japanese refiner will consider resuming oil imports from Iran if talks between Tehran and world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, are successful.

The announcement comes amid Japan’s efforts to prevent a sharp rise in fuel prices as the country fears a collapse of talks over Iran nuclear deal and rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine could impact a global market already affected by the spread of the coroanvirus.

Sugimori said that resuming oil imports from Iran would start at least two months after the conclusion of talks about the JCPOA as the company will need to make arrangements about insurance and shipping issues.

That comes a day after authorities in South Korea made similar statements about a potential resumption of oil imports from Iran after they held talks with an Iranian delegation in Seoul.

South Korea relied on Iran for a bulk of its crude and condensate imports before the United States withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 and imposed sanctions on Tehran.

In fact, some South Korean refiners have been facing problems replacing Iranian grades of oil since the sanctions hit the industry three years ago.

A major South Korean refiner said on Thursday that it is watching the Iran talks in Vienna as it is waiting to resume imports of the cost-competitive and easy-to-process oil shipments from Iran.

Experts believe that JCPOA’s revival could immediately lead to an increase of nearly 1 million barrels per day of crude supply in the global markets.

They say he increase would mostly benefit traditional customers of Iranian crude in Asia, including China, India and South Korea.

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