EghtesadOnline: Iran's liquefied petroleum gas shipments, which hit a trough in December at 101,000 tons, increased four-fold in January.
The National Iranian Oil Company exported 400,000 tons of LPG last month, of which 220,000 tons were purchased by Thailand's Asia Pacific Petrochemical Co., a prime importer and distributor of hydrocarbons.
Bulk of the export went to China, ISNA quoted Platts sources as saying, noting that shipments in September dipped to 356,000 tons. Nonetheless, the company on average was exporting 376,000 tons of LPG a month between March and August, Financial Tribune reported.
Rest of the gas was destined for Thailand and South Korea, according to shipping sources and S&P Global Platts trade flow software cFlow.
After LPG exports in August hit 568,000 tons, the decline in September came ahead of the re-imposition of US sanctions that warned international buyers of Iranian oil that they had until Nov. 4 to wind down purchases before Washington re-imposed new sanctions on the key oil, energy, banking, shipping and insurance sectors.
Before the deadline the Trump White House announced 180-day waivers to 8 countries allowing them to buy reduced quantities of Iranian oil.
Beijing and Tehran agreed to boost economic and trade cooperation when President Hassan Rouhani visited to China last June.
"LPG shipments, the bulk of which goes to China, are delivered regularly to customers," Hassan Montazer-Torbati, the head of National Iranian Gas Company said.
Denying reports that LPG exports had stopped, the NIGC official said LPG lifting was never discontinued. Shipping sources have confirmed that some of the gas cargo was destined for Thailand.
According to Platts, Iranian exports are helping fill shortfalls in spot supply from the Middle East, as major producers Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait export less spot cargoes and focus on fulfilling term contracts and meet rising domestic petrochemical demand.