China boosts crude oil imports from Iran

December 17, 2021 - 15:32

TEHRAN - China has increased imports of Iranian crude during November after independent refiners were granted additional import quotas for 2021, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing market intelligence firm Kpler.

According to Kepler, China imported about 18 million barrels of Iranian crude oil in the mentioned month, equivalent to about 600,000 barrels a day.

As reported, the imports were almost 40 percent more than those of October and the volume was the biggest since August.

China’s independent refiners, known as teapots, were set for a buying spree before the end of the year as they sought to use new import allocations they received in mid-October. That put Russian ESPO oil from the Far East, which usually takes less than a week to be shipped, and Iranian crude stored on ships off China and around Singapore and Malaysia in the spotlight.

The overall volume of crude and condensate stored at sea off key Asian regions fell to the lowest level since September as of Dec. 9, according to Kpler, which estimates that more than half of the oil in floating storage is from Iran and Venezuela.

Teapots have the flexibility to purchase Iranian oil because many don’t have long-term deals with other West Asian producers, unlike other Asian refiners. The independents buy cargoes via third parties that normally don’t own any assets in America.

China has repeatedly opposed U.S. sanctions on Iran and accused Washington of reaching beyond its jurisdiction.

Earlier this month, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Oji said the country’s oil sales in the current Iranian calendar year (started on March 21) have increased drastically compared to the previous year.

“The Oil Ministry has published a report on the oil sales as well as the exports of natural gas and petrochemical products over the past 100 days, according to which the figures have increased drastically compared to last year,” Oji said.

In a meeting with the members of the Parliament Energy Committee in mid-November, Oji said that new windows have been opened for the country’s oil sales using the existing capacities and the ministry had achieved new successes in this regard.

Back in September, the minister had said his ministry was determined to increase the country’s oil exports despite the U.S. sanctions, adding that the use of oil sanctions as a “political tool” would harm the market.

“There is a strong will in Iran to increase oil exports despite the unjust and illegal U.S. sanctions; I promise that good things will happen regarding Iran’s oil sales in the coming months,” Oji told the national TV.

EF/MA

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