Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:55AM
China, India, South Korea and Japan imported 1.94 million barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian oil last month.
China, India, South Korea and Japan imported 1.94 million barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian oil last month.

India and South Korea have raised oil imports from Iran more than four times in a month which saw four major Asian buyers more than double their purchases from a year ago.

China, India, South Korea and Japan imported 1.94 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, up 117 percent on a year earlier, government and ship-tracking data cited by Reuters showed.

The volumes were in line with the OPEC member's crude oil and condensate export plans after Iran was exempted from last month's OPEC deal to reduce output.

The waiver was a major victory for Tehran which has been trying to regain the market share it lost under Western sanctions.

Official data released by Japan's Trade Ministry on Wednesday showed the country’s imports from Iran jumped 41.2% from a year earlier to 237,653 bpd last month.

India topped China's imports for a third straight month as its imports from Iran grew more than four-fold from a year earlier to 620,000 bpd.

The biggest raise, however, was recorded by South Korea whose imports were nearly five times higher at 472,067 bpd.

Since the lifting of sanctions in January, Iran has doubled oil exports as prices have recovered. Europe represents Iran's biggest post-sanctions recapture of the lost market, where the continent currently receives more than 700,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude oil.   

Foreign companies have been flocking to Iran to renew work in the energy sector because of the low cost of doing business.

Gholam-Reza Manouchehri, a managing director for the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said on Tuesday that he expected the country to award roughly a dozen new agreements for oil and gas developments.

He said the costs of producing oil and gas in Iran are very low compared to other countries, which was attracting foreign investors.

US-based oilfield services company Schlumberger recently signed an initial deal with an Iranian oil company for data-sharing. European energy companies like Austria's OMV and France’s Total signed memorandums of understanding of their own.