Iran Sanction – Spain Switches to Nigeria for Oil Imports

oil-nigeria
Nigerian oil storage facility

Spain’s crude imports from Iran dropped in January, while its supplies from Nigeria increased from 636,000 tonnes in December 2011 to 838,000 tonnes in January 2012, following the sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

With this development, Nigeria has emerged the largest supplier of crude oil to Spain, after crude supplies from Saudi Arabia also dropped from 822,000 tonnes in December 2011 to 689,000 tonnes in January 2012.

Nigeria was the second-largest supplier of crude to Spain in December 2011, after Saudi Arabia, which supplied 822,000 tonnes.

Iraq is now the third-largest supplier of crude oil to Spain, with 657,000 tonnes.

According to reports, official data showed that Spain’s imports from Iran dropped from 407,000 tonnes in December 2011 to 279,000 tonnes in January 2012, representing 31 per cent decline.

In its latest monthly bulletin, strategic hydrocarbons reserve board CORES estimated that as a proportion of total imports, Iranian crude fell to six per cent in January from 9.5 per cent in December, which compares with around 14 per cent in previous months.

Spain, which needs to import virtually all of its crude, ramped up imports in January from Nigeria, Iraq and Libya, where production has been returning to normal after last year’s civil war.

The EU imposed sanctions on Iran on January 23 over it’s nuclear programme, although importers have until July 1, 2012 to execute previously signed contracts.

Recent reports have quoted trade sources as saying they expected Spain’s crude imports from Iran to have dropped further in February.

Spain’s biggest refiner, Repsol, has repeatedly declined to comment on details of its oil purchases, but in February, the government said the country’s two biggest oil companies had arranged to switch imports from Iran to Saudi Arabia, Russia and, to a lesser extent, Iraq.

Cepsa, Spain’s No. 2 refiner has said it plans to source crude from the United Arab Emirates.

Repsol has the capacity to refine 890,000 barrels per day and Cepsa, which is owned by Abu Dhabi investment vehicle IPIC, 430, 000 refines bpd.