Iran halts liquefied petroleum gas exports to Japan

By Curious

Iran said on Wednesday it had stopped exports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to Japan, but there were other customers available to buy the Islamic republic's LPG, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

The report did not give a reason but difficulties for shippers in obtaining insurance have continued to hamper Iranian LPG exports despite the lifting of international sanctions.

Iran halts liquefied petroleum gas exports to Japan

Japan's official customs-cleared trade data showed it last imported Iranian LPG in February 2012, before tough Western sanctions on tanker coverage for Iran came into effect.

In 2010, Japan imported about 861,000 tonnes of LPG from Iran, accounting for about 7 percent of total imports of the fuel, the data showed.

"Our LPG exports to Japan have stopped ... At the present, insurance issues and supplying of LPG carriers have been almost resolved," Mehr quoted the head of the Association of Petrochemical Industry Corporations (APIC) Ahmad Mahdavi as saying.

"There are no limitations for the exports of the LPG in the post-sanctions era ... a myriad of customers are calling for Iran's LPG to the extent that the demand exceeds the supply."

Mahdavi did not elaborate.

"One major obstacle facing LPG exports has been supplying of ships ... Since the removal of sanctions, some buyers of Iran's LPG have managed to receive the product through their own LPG carriers," he said.

Iran's years of economic isolation ended when crippling international sanctions were lifted in January after an agreement was reached ending a dispute over Iran's nuclear programme. International companies, including Japanese ones, have expressed interest and readiness to boost trade with Iran.

Some international shipping companies have remained reluctant to handle Iranian exports because of remaining U.S. restrictions on Tehran that prohibit trade in U.S. dollars or the involvement of U.S. firms, including banks and re-insurers.

Japan lifted sanctions on Iran in January.

Source: Reuters /Writing by Parisa Hafezi, additional reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Adrian Croft and Tom Hogue