* Asian Aug imports at 1.84 mln bpd, more than 5-1/2 year
* India imports nearly triple to at least 15-year high
* South Korea imports double; China, Japan imports also rise
By Osamu Tsukimori
TOKYO, Sept 30 Imports of Iranian oil by four
major buyers in Asia in August jumped 81 percent from a year
earlier, the biggest percentage gain since April 2014, as the
producer recoups market share from rivals Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Economic sanctions targeting Iran's disputed nuclear
programme were lifted in January, and it has been battling since
then to regain market share lost during the previous four years
that the sanctions were in force.
The No. 3 OPEC producer has increased its crude oil exports
last month to more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd),
according to a source with knowledge of its tanker loading
schedule, closing in on Tehran's pre-sanctions shipment levels
of five years ago.
The top four Asian buyers, South Korea, Japan, China and
India, imported 1.84 million barrels per day (bpd) in August,
government and ship-tracking data showed. That would be the
highest in at least five-and-a-half years.
Japan's trade ministry on Friday released official data
showing its imports rose 31.4 percent from a year earlier to
235,612 bpd last month.
India's imports nearly tripled from a year earlier to
575,900 bpd, the highest in at least 15 years.
Imports by South Korea more than doubled, while Chinese
imports also jumped 48 percent.
The following tables show Asia's Iran crude imports in bpd
for last month and the year to date.
Nation Aug-16 Aug-15 yr/yr pct
China 746,029 503,110 48.4
India 575,900 198,800 189.6
Japan 235,612 179,243 31.4
Korea 277,613 130,774 112.3
Total 1,835,154 1,011,927 81.4
Nation Jan-Aug 2016 Jan-Aug 2015 yr/yr pct
China 614,703 576,670 6.6
India 394,700 214,100 84.3
Japan 216,101 171,814 25.8
Korea 269,803 114,103 136.5
Total 1,495,307 1,076,687 38.9
(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Christian