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Major Japanese Refiners Suspend Iranian Oil Imports For October

Major Japanese refiners have officially notified Iran that they will halt all imports of Iranian oil for October while they wait for the Japan-U.S. talks on Iranian oil importers to make a permanent decision on how to proceed in November, Jiji Press reports, citing sources in the know.

Idemitsu Kosan and Cosmo Energy Holdings have notified Iran of their plans for October, while top Japanese refiner JXTG Holdings Inc, as well as Fuji Oil Co, which relies heavily on Iranian oil, have decided to temporarily suspend imports from Iran, the sources told Jiji Press.

Japan is still trying to secure a waiver from the United States to avoid its refiners coming under secondary sanctions as importers of Iranian oil. In the meantime, Japanese companies are playing it safe and are halting imports as U.S.-Japanese waiver talks show little progress, according to Jiji Press’s sources.

A Cosmo Energy official told S&P Global Platts earlier this week that it would not load any Iranian oil for the month of October, but it had yet to make a final decision on imports from Iran in November and beyond, as it was still holding onto hopes that it may secure a waiver.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—who is meeting with the top Indian officials in India today to discuss Iranian oil, among other things—said that the United States would consider waivers “where appropriate”, but reiterated that the United States eventually expects to bring Iranian oil exports to zero.

“We have told the Indians consistently, as we have told every nation, that on November 4th the sanctions with respect to Iranian crude oil will be enforced, and that we will consider waivers where appropriate, but that it is our expectation that the purchases of Iranian crude oil will go to zero from every country, or sanctions will be imposed,” Secretary Pompeo said, noting that many countries would need “a little bit of time to unwind.”

“And from whence they purchase the other crude oil, we’re happy to see if it’s American products that are able to deliver for them. I think that’d be a great outcome. But our mission set is to make sure that Iran doesn’t engage in malign behavior with wealth that comes from countries around the world, thus the purpose of the sanctions,” Pompeo said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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