Iran Economy NewsItaly ups Iran crude oil imports in May-industry

Italy ups Iran crude oil imports in May-industry

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Reuters: Italy’s imports of crude oil from Iran, one of its main suppliers, spiked in May helping to offset a lack of crude from Libya, data from industry body Unione Petrolifera (UP) showed on Thursday.

MILAN, Aug 4 (Reuters) – Italy’s imports of crude oil from Iran, one of its main suppliers, spiked in May helping to offset a lack of crude from Libya, data from industry body Unione Petrolifera (UP) showed on Thursday.

Italy, which depends heavily on energy imports because of scarce natural resources, boosted crude imports from Iran to 1.19 million tonnes in May from 765,700 tonnes in April, the data posted on UP’s site, showed. (www.unionepetrolifera.it)

Imports from Iran accounted for 11.6 percent of Italy’s total oil imports in the first five months of 2011 which rose 3.7 percent year on year to 29.31 million tonnes.

The 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. Tehran denies the West’s charge that it is seeking to build nuclear weapons.

Italy stopped importing crude oil from Libya, another sanction-hit major supplier, in April due to the conflict there.

The United Nations, the United States and the European Union have all imposed sanctions on the government of Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi

However, Libya still remained Italy’s third-biggest supplier, accounting for 12.9 percent of total crude imports in the first five months of 2011, after Azerbaijan with 18.0 percent and Russia with 15.9 percent, the data showed.

Imports from Azerbaijan rose to 1.21 million tonnes in May from 1.16 million tonnes in April.

The UP did not give a country-by-country comparison with the first five months of 2010.

In the first four months of 2011, imports of semi-finished oil products from Libya to Italy dropped 25.1 percent year on year to 130,000 tonnes, while total imports of such products to Italy fell 20 percent to 1.79 million tonnes.

Italy’s refining output fell 2.7 percent year on year in the first five months of this year to 35.2 million tonnes, when 79 percent of the total refining capacity of 106.6 million tonnes was used, UP said.

(Reporting by Svetlana Kovalyova; editing by Jason Neely)

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