Data for 2012 recently published by the Chinese customs authorities, the Korean National Oil Corporation (KNOC) and the Indian Ministry of Oil confirm a sharp drop in Iranian exports in 2012, which may not however be wholly attributable to the effect of international sanctions.

Although Chinese imports declined in 2012 by almost 21% to 441,000 b/d compared to 557,000 b/d in 2011, the reduction may be primarily the result of a price dispute between the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and China’s state oil trader Unipec. This clash effectively halted Unipec’s imports from Iran from late December 2011 to late March 2012. (CONTINUED - 255 WORDS)