Of the eight countries granted ‘waivers’ by the US to continue imports of Iranian oil after Washington imposed swingeing sanctions from 5 November, only three actually imported any barrels last month. China, with 503,000 b/d, took well over half of the total, which MEES pegs at just over 900,000 b/d. The only other substantial buyer was India, with imports of just over 300,000 b/d, shipping data indicate, whilst Turkey took two cargoes totaling 58,000 b/d after taking zero for November.

December buying actually edged up somewhat on November, when imports of Iranian crude totaled a mere 772,000 b/d the lowest level since the aftermath of the 1979 revolution (see table). (CONTINUED - 1398 WORDS)