Japanese Refiners Halt Iran Oil Imports as Waiver Nears End
Mar 29, 2019AthleticComments Off on Japanese Refiners Halt Iran Oil Imports as Waiver Nears End
TOKYO Japanese refineries have put a halt on imports of Iranian oil after buying 15.3 million barrels between January and March ahead of the end of a temporary waiver on U.S. sanctions, according to industry sources and data on Refinitiv Eikon.
The waiver, which allowed Japan to buy some Iranian oil for another 180 days, expires in early May. However, Japanese refiners want to ensure enough time for all cargoes already loaded to arrive in Japan and for payments to be completed.
We think it would be difficult to keep on lifting Iranian oil after March, a Fuji Oil spokesman said, noting that banks and insurance companies want to make sure all the transactions and deliveries are done well before the waivers expire. Last oil arrives early in April
The last Iranian oil cargo on supertanker Kisogawa is expected to arrive at Chiba, Japan, April 9, the data showed. The United States last year demanded that nations cut all Iranian oil imports when it reimposed sanctions on the country's petroleum sector Nov. 4 over Tehran's nuclear program. However, Washington granted temporary exemptions to Iran's biggest oil clients: Japan, China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Italy, Greece and Turkey.
Refiners in Japan, the world's fourth-biggest oil consumer, had stopped loading Iranian oil by mid-September, and only resumed loading in late January after banks received government assurances about processing payments to Iran.
Japan has loaded 15.3 million barrels of Iranian crude in the first three months of this year, which is equivalent to 86,430 barrels per day (bpd) during the six-month waiver period, according to Refinitiv data and Reuters calculations.
This represents a 33 percent drop from an average of 129,300 bpd that Japanese companies lifted between January and September last year before the sanctions kicked in, Refinitiv data showed.
The drop was more than the 20 percent reduction in supplies that Washington was said to have sought from each country over the six-month waiver period.
More oil from US, Russia Mideast
Japan has increased imports from the Middle East, Russia and the Americas as its Iranian imports fell, according to government data.
Japanese refiners have been pushing the government to seek an extension of the U.S. sanctions waivers after the initial exemption period expires.
Japanese officials and their U.S. counterparts met earlier this month in Washington to discuss the U.S. sanctions.
I think the waiver could be extended, but maybe for a smaller volume and for a smaller number of countries, said Takayuki Nogami, chief economist at Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp.
If the U.S. government does not extend the waiver, it could push crude oil prices up significantly as the gasoline season approaches and it could hurt Trump's reputation, he said. On Wednesday, Japan extended state-backed insurance to cover imports of oil from Iran for another year.
Comments Off on Taipei-Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau is promoting mountain tourism at the 4-day Taipei International Travel Fair that began Friday.
The bureau is focusing on five north-south mountain ranges — the Central Mountain, Xueshan, Yushan, Alishan and the Coastal Mountain ranges — in its pavilion at the fair, said bureau Deputy Director-General Chang Shi-chung (???).
Chang said there will be various exhibitions and forums on the mountains of Taiwan, as well as its unique cultural features such as historic trails and aboriginal lifestyles.
Taiwan is preparing to market 2020 as the Year of Mountain Tourism, after its efforts to position the country as an important international mountaineering destination in July, when the government allowed public access to the island’s national parks.
Previously, people who wanted to visit restricted “ecological protected areas” in Taiwan’s national parks had to apply for permits from both the National Police Agency and the Construction and Planning Agency.
Now, however, the Construction and Planning Agency has launched a new mountain permit application portal that requires mountain visitors to apply for only one permit and provides fast-track processing to expedite applications, the bureau said.
Much of Taiwan is covered by mountains, and it has 268 mountains of over 3,000 meters, according to the Tourism Bureau website.
That environment has made hiking and mountain climbing one of the favorite pastimes of Taiwan residents.
The number of permits issued to Taiwanese citizens and foreign nationals for access to trails in Yushan, Taroko and Shei Pa national parks has risen from 153,736 in 2016 to 187,053 in 2017 and 201,526 in 2018, according to Construction and Planning Agency figures.
In 2018, foreign nationals accounted for 7.24 percent of the permits issued.
There will be around 1,700 booths from 60 countries at the fair, to be held Nov. 8-11 at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center.
The fair, the largest of its kind in Taiwan, will feature South Korean and Japanese tourism operators amid growing local interest in travel to those countries.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel