TEHRAN (FNA)- India will be the top Asian customer of oil from Iran in 2009 followed by China and Japan, according to a high-ranking NIOC official.
“We are negotiating with a few Indian companies for sales of crude oil in 2009,” said Ali-Asghar Arshi, Managing Director of International Affairs for the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).
“Currently the leading customers of Iran’s crude oil in Asia are Japan, China and India but in the upcoming year the top ranking will change to India, China and Japan,” he added.
The oil official said the reason for India’s jump to top ranking customer is an increase in demand for Iranian crude by the country, adding that the Indian government’s energy strategy is to increase the capacity of India’s refineries to enhance its energy security.
India has been trying for some years to enhance refinery capacity, and both public and private sectors in the country have increased investment in refineries.
Arshi noted that India employs a complicated refining system that is able to obtain the maximum output of gas and diesel fuel from crude oil, press tv reported.
Iran’s top European customers for crude are Italy, France, Belgium, Greece and Spain.
Referring to Latin America, Arshi said Iran does not sell crude to the countries in the region but has recently participated in bids to sell crude oil to Chile and Uruguay.
Iran is also constructing oil reserve tanks that will enable the country to raise its storage capacity, as part of the country’s long-term energy policy.