The US sanctions against Iran are due to take effect at the beginning of July. Countries must have halted all trading of Iranian oil by that time, or face punishment in the form of being cut off from the US financial system. Those nations unable to completely halt all Iranian oil imports can earn exemptions from the sanctions by making a considerable effort to reduce their oil imports.
Iran has generally been the largest supplier of crude oil to South Africa, but following Western pressure to cut imports it managed to decrease that reliance upon the Persian State.
The biggest South African buyer of Iranian crude was Engen, mostly owned by Malaysian state oil company Petronas, but they announced in April that they managed to halt all imports of Iranian crude in April. Sasol, another large South African petrochemical group, has also announced that it has found an alternative supplier for the 12,000 barrels a day it used to receive from Iran.
Overall imports from Iran declined between October 2011 and January of this year to zero, but have since then started to rise again.
According to the March data, crude imports totalled 1.6 million tonnes, with Nigeria supplying 38 percent, Iran 32 percent, Saudi Arabia 22 percent and Angola the rest.
The Revenue Service said that imports of Iranian Crude in February were at 417,188 tonnes (2.8 billion rand), and up to 505,908 (3.37 billion rand) in March. Clearly Pretoria has not bowed to Western pressure as first believed.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com