* Asian buyers take 2.01 mln bpd of Iran oil in Feb
* The rise is 22.4 pct month-on-month
* India, South Korea imports more than double
By Osamu Tsukimori
TOKYO, March 31 Imports of Iranian crude by its
four main buyers in Asia rose about 58 percent in February from
a year ago when Western sanctions on Tehran had only just been
Iran's top four Asian buyers - China, India, South Korea and
Japan - imported 2.01 million barrels per day (bpd) last month,
government and ship-tracking data showed, the highest volumes
since at least 2010, International Energy Agency data showed.
Iran was exempted from an OPEC deal to reduce output by 1.2
million bpd starting Jan. 1, a victory for Tehran which has
argued it needs to regain the market share it lost under Western
sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme.
Japan's trade ministry on Friday released official data
showing its Iranian imports came to 230,297 bpd last month.
Japan likely skipped Iran crude loading this month as buyers
waited for the government to extend sovereign ship insurance in
the new fiscal year that starts in April.
The following tables show Asia's Iran crude imports in bpd
for last month and the year to date.
Nation Feb-17 Feb-16 yr/yr pct
China 657,901 537,969 22.3
India 647,000 215,800 199.8
Japan 230,297 239,088 -3.7
Korea 477,643 282,207 69.3
Total 2,012,841 1,275,064 57.9
Nation Jan-Feb 2017 Jan-Feb 2016 yr/yr pct
China 523,839 470,864 11.3
India 598,400 192,500 210.9
Japan 219,275 215,821 1.6
Korea 477,847 244,183 95.7
Total 1,819,361 1,123,368 62.0
(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Edmund Blair)