China still ships in Iranian oil despite U.S.’s tougher stance: report

July 27, 2019

TEHRAN – China is still importing oil from Iran despite the U.S.’s reimposition of the sanctions on the country, Bloomberg reported on Friday citing official customs data. The Asian country imported 855,638 tons (about 209,000 barrels per day) of crude oil from Iran in June.

As reported, the data adds to speculation that Beijing may risk running afoul of American sanctions to secure crude supplies from the Islamic Republic.

All eyes are on China’s oil purchases as Donald Trump’s administration continues to clamp down on companies and individuals flouting its restrictions. 

The import-reliant Asian nation is one of the few remaining buyers of Iranian barrels, after other countries such as South Korea and Japan halted flows.

China imported about 494,000 barrels a day of Iranian crude in the first five months of this year, compared with more than 660,000 barrels a day in the same period in 2018. 

In late June, China’s Jinxi Refining and Chemical Complex received a one-million-barrel cargo of Iranian oil in the first month after the Trump administration ended waivers permitting imports of Iranian oil.

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 130,000 tons of fuel oil to China despite the U.S. sanctions.

Later in June, 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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