Iran moved about 17.8 million tonnes of crude into China during the past 14 months, with volumes reaching record levels in January and February, while India’s state refiners have added Iranian oil to their annual import plans on the assumption that
U.S. sanctions on the supplier will soon ease, according to industry sources and Refinitiv data.
U.S. President Joe Biden has sought to revive talks with Iran on a nuclear deal abandoned by former President Donald Trump in
2018, although harsh economic measures remain in place.The sanctions caused a drop in Iran’s exports to China, India, Japan and South Korea. Those measures, and output cuts by fellow OPEC+ producers, have led to tight supplies of West Asian sour
crude in Asia. “They talked to us. They said: ‘very soon [we] hope to resume oil supplies’,” said a source at an Indian refiner. Restored Iranian supplies to India could lower demand for spot cargoes, which has risen recently after Iraq cut
supplies and Kuwait reduced the duration of some contracts. India, hurting from the sustained recovery in prices, expects Iran-
ian supplies to return to the market in 3-4 months, a government official said.Another Indian refiner said NIOC officials had told them a formal pact on supply would be signed after Iran’s elections in June.