Reuters: Italy’s import of crude oil from Iran, a major supplier, jumped 80.6 percent in 2010, despite tightening international sanctions against Tehran, data from Italy’s industry group Unione Petrolifera (UP) showed.
MILAN, March 16 (Reuters) – Italy’s import of crude oil from Iran, a major supplier, jumped 80.6 percent in 2010, despite tightening international sanctions against Tehran, data from Italy’s industry group Unione Petrolifera (UP) showed.
Italy imported 10.377 million tonnes of oil from Iran last year, or 13.3 percent of of its total imports, making Iran the fourth-biggest oil supplier to Italy, according to UP data published on Wednesday on its website (www.unionepetrolifera.it).
Total crude oil imports in Italy rose 2.2 percent to 77.893 million tonnes last year, the data showed.
Tightening of international sanctions against Iran which took full effect around July 2010, has complicated deals involving buying Iranian crude or selling refined oil products to the Islamic Republic and has pinched Tehran’s purse.
Tehran denies the West’s charge that it is seeking to build nuclear weapons.
Italy, which depends heavily on energy imports because of scarce natural resources, bought 23.3 percent of its total 2010 crude imports, or 18.154 million tonnes, from Libya, its biggest supplier. That was 11.1 percent down on 2009, UP data showed.
Imports from Russia, No. 2 supplier of crude oil to Italy, dropped by 21.9 percent to 11.952 million tonnes in 2010, while imports from Azerbaijan rose 14.3 percent to 10.533 million tonnes, UP said without commenting on the data.
In January 2011, Italy imported 384,000 tonnes of crude oil from Iran, far behind 1.732 million tonnes bought in Libya, 1.156 million tonnes imported from Azerbaijan and 813,000 tonnes from Russia, UP said without giving a year-ago comparison.
Italy’s total refining capacity stood at 106.6 million tonnes last year but it used only 85 percent, UP said. (Reporting by Svetlana Kovalyova; editing by James Jukwey)