Saturday, August 6, 2011

More Iran oil in China despite sanctions

An Iranian oil tanker (file photo)

Source: Press TV

China has increased crude oil imports from the Islamic Republic of Iran by 40 percent in spite of the United States sanctions on Iran's energy sector.

China's Sinopec Corp. is importing around 90,000 barrels a day of a super light crude from Iran, 40 percent more than previously reported, Reuters reported on Friday.

Sinopec is taking the South Pars condensate from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) under a term deal that started in January, a main factor behind the rise in China's crude oil imports from Iran in the first half of the year, the report added.

The volume is 40 percent larger than the annual supply of 24 million barrels reported earlier.

The deal to supply the super light crude, an ideal feedstock to make petrochemicals and worth $3 billion a year, was part of a broader alliance the two national oil firms clinched under which Asia's largest refiner would upgrade and build refineries in Iran.

According to the report, Iran shipped about 15 million barrels of condensate from its giant South Pars gas project to at least three Sinopec refineries -- Tianjin, Zhenhai and Maoming -- where the light crude oil is used to feed ethylene crackers.

The condensate, making up 16 percent of China's total crude imports from Iran, has helped bolster China's Iranian oil purchases to about 540,000 barrels per day between January and June.

The report comes despite US-engineered sanctions on Iran over Western allegations that Tehran is developing a military nuclear program.

Iranian officials refute such allegations and stress that as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the country has a legitimate right to pursue peaceful nuclear technology.

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