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Chile in rare purchase of Iranian crude oil: sources

London — Iran has found an unlikely buyer for its crude oil after the decision by the US to re-impose sanctions in the form of Chile, trading and shipping sources said Thursday

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Related feature -- Iran Sanctions: Global Energy Implications

Chilean state-owned refiner ENAP has purchased 140,000 mt of Iranian crude for May loading in a rare move, they said.

This is the first time Chile has imported Iranian crude in almost 18 months, according data from S&P Global Platts trade flow software cFlow.

ENAP and the National Iranian Oil Company were unavailable for comment.

The Suezmax Monte Toledo was placed on subjects on a Kharg Island to Chile route at Worldscale 52.5 for May 24-25 loading, sources said.

Chile mainly relies on crude oil imports from Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Argentina but it also occasionally buys crude oil from Middle Eastern countries such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Chile's monthly crude imports been in a range of 700,000-900,000 mt over the past year, according to Platts estimates.

State energy company ENAP is Chile's sole oil refiner, which operates two refineries -- Aconcagua and Biobio -- with around 220,000 b/d of refining capacity.

Earlier this week, theUS withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement. with President Donald Trump saying he would put "powerful" economic sanctions back "into full effect" targeting the oil sector in particular.

International buyers of Iranian oil have until November 4 to wind down contracts before the US reimposes sanctions on the oil, energy, shipping and insurance sectors, according to a US Treasury Department fact sheet.

Iran's crude output was 3.83 million b/d in April, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.

In 2011-15, when the EU and US previously levied sanctions on the transportation and purchase of Iranian crude, Iran's exports fell by almost 1 million b/d.

Iran has doubled its oil exports to about 2.2 million-2.4 million b/d since the nuclear deal was implemented in January 2016.

--Eklavya Gupte,
--Edited by Jonathan Dart,