1111 GMT June 25, 2022
China imported 260,000 tons of Iranian crude oil last month, data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs showed.
The shipment of Iran’s oil in May was China’s third since last December, customs data released on Monday indicated, confirming an earlier report.
Despite US sanctions on Iran, China has kept taking Iranian oil, usually passed off as supplies from other countries. The import levels are roughly equivalent to 7% of China’s total crude oil imports, Reuters wrote.
Assessments by Vortexa Analytics showed China imported nearly 650,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude in April.
This came after China’s purchases of Iranian oil rose to record levels in March, exceeding a 2017 peak when the trade was not subject to US sanctions.
According to tanker tracking data released in March, Chinese imports exceeded 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) for January, according to estimates of three tanker trackers, surpassing the 623,000 bpd peak recorded by Chinese customs in 2017 before former US president Donald Trump reimposed sanctions in 2018 on Iranian oil exports after unilaterally pulling out of a multilateral nuclear deal.
One tracker estimated imports amounted to 780,000 bpd in November-December on average.
China, the world’s top oil importer, has time and again reiterated its opposition to the US long-arm jurisdiction and urged Washington to remove unilateral sanctions.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg quoting the biggest independent crude trader, reported that US may allow more Iranian oil onto global markets even without the revival of the 2015 nuclear accord in order to bring down record-high pump prices.
Gasoline prices have shot up to an average of more than $4.80 per gallon in the US as crude prices have soared more than 50% this year to almost $120 a barrel, mostly because of the fallout of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.