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Iran looks for way to send oil to North Korea

April 22, 2013 at 5:54 AM

TEHRAN, April 22 (UPI) -- Iran has spoken with North Korean officials about selling crude oil to Pyongyang, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi said.

"We have had some negotiations with the country's oil industry minister about exports of oil to North Korea and these negotiations are still under way," Qassemi was quoted by the semiofficial Fars News Agency as saying.

Qassemi, on the sidelines of an international energy exhibition in Tehran, said he was discussing how to send oil to the North Korean market but stressed there were no problems in terms of sales.

The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Agency reports that North Korea produced a minor amount of its own oil in 2012, though data were scant. The CIA World Factbook reports that North Korea has no crude oil reserves of its own and received 8,400 barrels of oil per day in imports in 2009, the latest period for which data were available.

Iran's energy sector is under sanctions pressure as punishment for its nuclear program. The EIA said there was an "unprecedented drops" in crude oil exports from Iran because of sanctions.

Qassemi last week said, however, that Iran has maintained its market presence with a customer base that was more than 60 countries strong.

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