BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:45 P.M.) – On Tuesday, Reuters reported hat China will receive another large influx of Iranian oil, despite previous threats of sanctions from the Trump administration.
Refinitiv Oil Research estimated that about 3.75 million tons of oil, equivalent to 27 million barrels, will arrive from Iran to China this month, surpassing the previous record last January of 3.37 million tons.
“This trend appears to be continuing, although the appetite to buy is dwindling due to the increase in stocks at the ports and the abundance of supplies,” said Emma Lee, senior analyst at Refinitiv.
Lee continued, “About 650,000 barrels per day of Iranian oil were supplied in the first 19 days of this March, mainly through the eastern province of Shandong, which is the center of independent refiners in China.”
“This compared to 490,000 barrels per day in February and 797,000 barrels per day in January, and this could reach nearly one million barrels per day of Iranian crude to China this month, which is nearly half the amount that it received from Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter to China in the first two months of this year.
A trade source familiar with the movements of Iranian ships bound for China estimated approximately 30 million barrels was delivered in the month of March, while Sara Vakhshouri, head of SVB Energy International, estimated Iran’s oil exports this month at more than 1 million barrels per day.
China had accepted record quantities of Iranian oil in early 2021, despite U.S. sanctions designed to punish buyers, while analysts emphasized that the purchase was a major factor behind the decline in global Brent oil prices from $70 a barrel, which limited the scope for OPEC to increase production.
Rystad Energy analysts said, “The recent jump in Iranian crude exports, especially to China, and the crude out of stockpiles are contributing to the weakness of the oil market, undermining OPEC + efforts to limit supplies and setting prices for the third weekly decline” of the OPEC + meeting on April 1.
It is noteworthy that China had confirmed, last week, that it would protect the Iranian nuclear deal and defend the legitimate interests of Sino-Iranian relations. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Beijing had “consistently opposed” U.S. unilateral sanctions and “long-term judicial authorities”, and urged Washington to lift these “unlawful sanctions” as soon as possible.