China receives first Iranian oil cargo post waivers

June 27, 2019

TEHRAN – China’s Jinxi Refining and Chemical Complex has received a one-million-barrel cargo of Iranian oil in the first month after the Trump administration ended waivers permitting imports of Iranian oil, Tasnim news agency reported on Wednesday.

A medium-sized Suezmax vessel owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) departed from Iran’s Kharg Island terminal on May 24.

The vessel called SALINA loaded approximately one million barrels of Iranian oil.

SALINA arrived at the Jinxi Refinery, located near the Port of Jinzhou, near Beijing, on June 20. 

Notably, Jinxi is owned and operated by PetroChina, which is affiliated to China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), a long-time buyer of Iranian oil and the parent company of Bank of Kunlun, the financial institution that has been at the heart of China-Iran trade for the last decade. 

SALINA’s journey serves to confirm earlier reports that China had resumed purchasing Iranian petroleum products, including crude oil and liquid petroleum gas, despite the fact that such purchases would run afoul of U.S. sanctions. Several other tankers are expected to arrive in China in the coming weeks. 

Since April when the United States announced that buyers of Iranian oil should stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, China has been constantly opposing Washington’s policies toward Iran and Chinese officials have repeatedly announced that they will continue purchasing oil from Iran.

In early May, Chinese Commerce Ministry announced the country’s opposition to unilateral U.S. sanctions against Iran, saying that cutting Iranian oil supplies will only worsen volatility in global energy markets.

In late May, Reuters reported that Iran delivered 130,000t of fuel oil to China despite the U.S. sanctions.

Later this month Bloomberg informed that China is still importing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from Iran after the U.S. imposed sanctions on the country’s oil industry.

According to ship tracking data, the Paris-based energy researcher Kpler SAS estimated that at least five supertankers loaded Iranian LPG in May and June heading for China.

China is Iran’s largest oil customer with imports of 475,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the first quarter of this year, according to Chinese customs data.

EF/MA

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