China imported about 400,000 barrels of crude oil from Iran in the first four months of 2013, up 11 percent compared to the same period in 2012.
Three other major Asian buyers, namely India, Japan, and South Korea, reduced imports by 46 percent, 33 percent, and 28 percent, respectively.
Iran’s oil exports will average 1.38 million barrels a day in the current Iranian fiscal year starting March 21,2013, the International Energy Agency estimates. That’s in line with the government’s budget expecting 1.3 million barrels a day.
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi has said Iran has significantly developed its capacity to ship oil overseas despite U. S. - led sanctions.
Refiners want to continue using the Iranian crude many of their plants are configured to process, as changes will need lengthy testing of new grades or cause an alteration in output.
Iran is planning to find buyers for its crude, with top Asian consumers cutting purchases as Western sanction choke off trade with OPEC’s second - largest producer.
The U. S. State Department on Wednesday renewed six - month waivers on Iran sanctions for China, India and seven other economies in exchange for their agreeing to reduce purchases of oil from Iran.