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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

First Chinese oil purchase from Iran since revocation of waivers delivered

ISNA - Iranian Students' News Agency

Wed / 26 June 2019 / 16:04

Tehran (ISNA) - A tanker owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) has delivered oil to the Jinxi Refining and Chemical Complex in China, marking the first confirmed delivery of Iranian crude purchased after the Trump administration's revocation of waivers permitting the sale of Iranian oil on May 2.

According to Bourse & Bazaar, Analysis provided by shows that the medium-sized Suezmax vessel, named SALINA, departed from Iran's Kharg Island terminal on May 24. SALINA loaded approximately one million barrels of Iranian oil before departing on May 28.

A few weeks later, on June 20, the vessel arrived at the Jinxi Refinery, located near the Port of Jinzhou, near Beijing. 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.

Iran has been delivering significant volumes of crude oil into bonded storage in China over the last year, selling that oil to China in subsequent months. CNPC's nearby storage facility–part of China's Strategic Petroleum Reserve–can hold 19 million barrels. But in the absence of waivers, the storage of Iranian oil would still contravene US sanctions, making it likely that the delivered oil was taken by CNPC as a purchase.

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 US sanctions. Several other tankers are expected to arrive in China in the coming weeks.

The Chinese General Administration of Customs declared USD 585 million in imports of Iranian petroleum products in May, down sharply from USD 1.6 billion in April. But imports are expected to rebound in June, based on the significant number of tankers that remain en route to Chinese ports.

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