India imported around 358,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian crude in the first quarter of 2014, up nearly 43 percent from a year ago, according to tanker arrival data obtained from trade sources, Reuters reported.
In March, India’s shipments from Iran rose 45.6 percent from February to about 387,000 bpd, more than twice the intake in March 2013, the data showed.
India’s imports from Iran also more than doubled in January, surging to 412,000 bpd, up from 189,100 bpd in December.
Iran’s January oil shipments to the Indian customer were 31 percent higher year on year.
India is among Asia’s major importers of energy, and relies on the Islamic Republic to meet a portion of its energy requirements.
Meanwhile, Yasushi Kimura, head of Japan’s oil refining industry said on Thursday that Tokyo may choose to raise Iranian crude imports once the Western sanctions against the Islamic Republic are lifted.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain – plus Germany sealed an interim deal in Geneva on November 24, 2013 to pave the way for the full resolution of the decade-old dispute with Iran over the country’s nuclear energy program.
Under the Geneva deal, the six countries agreed to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Iran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities during a six-month period. The deal came into force on January 20.
The sanctions relief for Iran also includes access to USD 4.2 billion of its oil revenues frozen abroad by eight money-transfer schedules through July.
In January, Japan became the first of Iran’s oil buyers to make a payment for crude imports following the Geneva deal. One source confirmed the Japanese payment was USD 550 million.