Cosmo Oil has started loading its first Iranian crude oil cargo, the latest Japanese refiner to resume import of Iranian oil more than two months after the US sanctions waiver was granted, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told S&P Global Platts Monday.
The VLCC Jin-Ei commenced loading 850,000 barrels of Iranian crude — 200,000 barrels of Iranian Light and 650,000 barrels of Iranian Heavy — at Iran’s Kharg Island at around 03:48 am local time Monday, the source said.The VLCC will arrive in Japan at the end of February after loading crude oil cargoes at Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait and Das Island in Abu Dhabi, following its expected departure from Kharg Island at around 2 am local time Tuesday, the source added.
A spokesman at parent Cosmo Energy Holdings declined to comment Monday.
Platts’ trade flow software cFlow also shows that the VLCC Jin-Ei entered Kharg Island on Sunday.
Cosmo Oil’s commencement of Iranian crude oil loading comes after Japanese refiners Fuji Oil and Showa Shell — Japan’s main buyers of Iranian crude — fully loaded two VLCCs with Iranian crude recently.
Japanese refiners resumed loading Iranian crude after Platts reported on January 15 that major Japanese banks were set to resume Iranian oil transactions after receiving final regulatory clearance, paving the way for the country’s refiners to begin loadings as early as this month.
Also, Japanese refiners and shipping companies had recently resolved their concerns over relevant shipping insurance for Iranian imports, and were awaiting bank and regulatory approval before resuming inflows.
Japan did not import any crude from Iran in November. The country last recorded zero Iranian oil imports in July 2012 during the last international sanctions against Tehran.