Philippines' state oil company is in negotiations with the National Iranian Oil Company to resume crude imports, said a member of the Philippines National Oil Company (PNOC) board of directors.
“Plans are in place to buy 130,000 barrels of oil per day, or nearly 4 million barrels per month, from the NIOC as soon as talks come to fruition," Pedro Aquino was quoted as saying by the Oil Ministry's official news service Shana.
According to Aquino, China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, known as Sinopec, is constructing a refinery in the Philippines with a processing capacity of 400,000 barrels per day and the PNOC is eying Iranian oil supplies to meet part of the demand.
On PNOC's ongoing negotiations with other oil giants, Aquino said the company has already signed a contract with Russia's energy company Rosneft to import 4 million barrels of oil per month and talks are underway with Royal Dutch Shell Plc and NIOC to provide rest of the feedstock.
Commenting on PNOC's interest in joint oil and gas ventures in Iran, the official said that PNOC, a former customer of NIOC, is planning to play a more active role in Iran's upstream oil and liquefied gas initiatives as the OPEC member has long-term plans to increase hydrocarbon exports.
According to Shana, the National Iranian South Oil Company signed a memorandum of understanding in November with Pergas Consortium, a group of international oil and gas companies, to study two oilfields in the southern province of Khuzestan. PNOC is a member of the consortium.
Pergas Consortium, managed by Pergas, an international British engineering, procurement, construction company, includes Norway's AGR, a global oil and gas services company, Middle East SPEC, supplier of full range of production and processing technology equipment for upstream and downstream projects, OiLSERV, oilfield services provider, the UK's ByrneLooby, an engineering consultancy, PNOC, the UK's Hanson Financial Planner as well as Sharif University of Technology.
Imports of crude oil by Iran's four major buyers in Asia more than doubled in November for a second straight month from a year ago, with purchases by India and South Korea more than four times higher in that period.
Iran's top four Asian buyers - China, India, South Korea and Japan - imported 1.94 million barrels per day last month, up 117% on a year earlier, government and ship-tracking data showed.
That was just short of the 2016 peak of 1.99 million bpd hit in the previous month, which was the highest since at least 2010, according to data by International Energy Agency. The volumes were in line with the OPEC member's crude oil and condensate export plans.
India's imports grew more than four-fold from a year earlier to 620,000 bpd, topping China's imports for a third straight month.
South Korean imports were nearly five times higher at 472,067 bpd.