* Asian buyers take nearly 2 mln bpd of Iran oil in March
* Imports down slightly on February
* Quarterly imports rise by nearly half
By Aaron Sheldrick
TOKYO, April 28 Imports of Iranian crude by its
four main buyers in Asia rose nearly 27 percent in March from a
year earlier as the country took advantage of its exemption from
a production cut agreed by OPEC and some other major producers.
Iran's top four Asian buyers - China, India, South Korea and
Japan - imported 1.97 million barrels per day (bpd) last month,
government and ship-tracking data showed This is marginally
below February, when Iran sold the highest volumes overseas
since at least 2010, International Energy Agency data showed.
In the first quarter, these four countries imported 1.87
million bpd, a 47 percent rise from the same period in 2016.
Iran was exempted from a deal between the Organization of
the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers, including
Russia, to reduce output by 1.2 million bpd from Jan. 1.
It was a victory for Tehran which had argued it needs to
regain the market share it lost under Western sanctions over its
disputed nuclear programme.
Japan's trade ministry on Friday released official data,
showing Iranian imports were at 224,604 bpd last month, up 13
percent from a year earlier and slightly down from the previous
The following tables show Asia's Iran crude imports in bpd
for last month and the year to date.
Nation Mar-17 Mar-16 yr/yr pct
China 626,185 590,830 6.0
India 525,700 506,100 3.9
Japan 224,604 198,355 13.2
South Korea 597,935 264,452 126.1
Total 1,974,424 1,559,737 26.6
Nation Jan-Mar 2017 Jan-Mar 2016 yr/yr pct
China 559,081 511,757 9.3
India 573,400 299,300 91.6
Japan 221,110 209,871 5.4
Korea 519,222 251,088 106.8
Total 1,872,813 1,272,016 47.2
(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Vyas Mohan)