Sri Lanka, South Africa resume buying Iranian oil

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 19

By Fatih Karimov - Trend:

Sri Lanka and South Africa have resumed buying Iranian oil after Iran and six world powers reached an interim nuclear deal in November.

Mohsen Qamsari, director for international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, said crude oil is being exported to the two countries in single consignments, Iran's Mehr news agency reported on May 19.

"Sri Lanka and South Africa are the two traditional oil customers of Iran," he noted.

South Africa used to import 100,000 barrels of oil per day from Iran before the international sanctions hit the Iranian oil sector. The country was the 9th biggest oil buyer from Iran.

Iran is South Africa's leading crude supplier, accounting for about 25 percent of oil imports to Africa's biggest economy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

In January, Sri Lankan Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiyutheen said his country would proceed with oil cooperation with Iran.

Bathiyutheen added that his country failed to pay its $250-million oil debt to Iran due to banking sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear energy program and emphasized that the issue would be resolved soon.

On May 15, the International Energy Agency said Iran's oil exports dropped for a second month in April, moving closer to levels allowed by November's interim deal on curbing Tehran's nuclear program.

Global imports of Iranian crude in April averaged 1.11 million barrels per day (bpd), the Paris-based IEA said in its monthly Oil Market Report, down 180,000 bpd from March.

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