An oil tanker carrying crude oil arriving in Zhoushan, China. (Getty)

January 20, 2022

China reported the first imports of Iranian crude oil in a year despite ongoing sanctions by the United States government, according to data released by customs on Thursday.

China brought in 260,312 tonnes of Iranian crude oil in December, according to data from the General Administration of Chinese Customs, which last recorded Iranian oil inflows in December 2020 at 520,000 tonnes.

It was not immediately clear which company brought in the latest cargo, which is equal to the amount of oil that would fit onto one very large crude carrier (VLCC) tanker, and which terminal it was discharged into.

Unofficially, China’s imports of Iranian oil had held above 500,000 barrels per day on average between August and October, as buyers judged that getting crude at cheap prices outweighed the risks of busting U.S. sanctions, Reuters reported in November.

To avoid the sanctions, Iranian crude has been exported to China marked as oil from Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia, squeezing out supplies from Brazil and West Africa, traders have said.

Imports from Iran have accounted for about 6% of China’s crude oil imports, according to shipping data and trader estimates.

Reuters

About Track Persia

Track Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.