China ships in 1.9m barrels of Iranian oil in December 2021: official data

January 21, 2022 - 15:15

TEHRAN - China shipped in 260,312 tons (1.9 million barrels) of Iranian crude oil in December 2021, according to data from the General Administration of Chinese Customs, Reuters reported.

This is China’s first official customs report on the import of Iranian crude in a year despite ongoing sanctions.

China has previously been importing Iranian oil, but the shipments have not been reflected in official customs data as buyers fear invoking U.S. sanctions.

The mentioned cargo has been offloaded into a state reserve site in Zhanjiang in late December, according to a senior trade source with knowledge of the shipment.

As reported, China has offloaded nearly four million barrels of Iranian crude oil into state reserve tanks in the southern port city of Zhanjiang over the past few weeks.

The refilling of China's strategic petroleum reserves comes ahead of a plan to release oil from its emergency stockpile in a rare coordination with the United States to help cool global oil prices which hit a seven-year high this week.

Over the past few months, Iran has repeatedly announced a sharp increase in its oil exports.

In December 2021, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Oji said the country’s oil sales in the current Iranian calendar year (started on March 21, 2021) 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.

An official with the Iranian Oil Ministry has also told Reuters the same thing, stressing that "We do not disclose to which countries because of the U.S. sanctions, but China is one of the countries that buy Iran’s oil. It shows that the sanctions have become ineffective,"

"Our policy is to improve our trade, including oil, with non-Western countries," said a second Iranian official.

EF/MA

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