Japan Refiners Seeking Clarity Over Iran Oil Waiver Extension : Japanese refiners are seeking clarity on whether there will be an extension to the 180-day sanctions waiver from Washington in March, as they hope to continue buying Iranian oil without any disruption, Petroleum Association of Japan’s president Takashi Tsukioka said Friday.

Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, Tsukioka said that the Japanese refiners are planning to load Iranian crude by March, as well as considering their options beyond May, S&P Global Platts reported.

In the absence of clarity over the extension of the US sanctions waiver in March, Tsukioka said the refiners’ lifting of Iranian oil would stop in April.

“It would be best to have clarity over the sanctions waivers by the end of March,” Tsukioka said. “If decided in March, we will be able to continue loading Iranian oil.”

Tsukioka also added that Japanese refiners would continue to buy spot Iranian oil whether or not their term contracts are renewed if the sanctions waiver is granted.

Showa Shell, Fuji Oil and Cosmo Oil were the first Japanese refiners to resume Iranian crude loadings in January — the first in four months — totaling around 4.9 million barrels.

This was followed by JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy resuming loadings in early February. Idemitsu Kosan has also said it intends to resume its purchases of Iranian crude oil during the current US sanctions waiver. Source: Financial Tribune

– Hopes for progress in talks
Asked about the outlook of talks with a top US State Department delegation in Tokyo, Tsukioka confirmed the visit as well as expressing his hope for progress toward securing the extension to the Iranian oil sanctions waiver.

“It would be beneficial for Japan to secure the sanctions waiver by all means,” Tsukioka said. “We are hopeful of the government.”

He added that the Japanese oil industry does not have any plans to meet the US State Department delegation during the visit.

Francis Fannon, the assistant secretary at the US State Department’s Bureau for Energy Resources, is on a visit to Japan until February 26, following his visit to South Korea earlier this week.