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China's Iran oil imports to rebound in Dec as buyers use U.S. waivers


By Aizhu and Florence Tan

BEIJING/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China's Iranian imports are set to rebound in December after two state-owned refiners in the world's largest importer began using the nation's waiver from U.S. sanctions on Iran, according to industry sources and data on Eikon.

resumed imports shortly after Tehran's biggest received its waiver in November, while National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) will restart lifting from its own Iranian production in December, three sources with knowledge of the matter told

reported in November that China's waiver on U.S. sanctions allows it to buy 360,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil for 180 days.

Top Chinese group CNPC, which has invested billions of dollars in Iranian oilfields, is ready to load its full share of production from December, said an oil with direct knowledge of CNPC's activities.

The executive, who asked not to be named, estimated CNPC will load at least two million barrels a month from December, doubling previous levels to help compensate for cuts made before sanctions on Iran's went into effect on Nov 5.

Before the waivers had been announced, Sinopec, Asia's largest oil refiner, had planned to stop loading oil in November, but resumed imports within days of getting the exemption, a second source said, also asking to remain unnamed.

"We continued lifting Iranian oil in November because we received the waiver," the second source said.

and CNPC will likely use up the 360,000 bpd of Iranian allowed to under the waiver.

Another source said Iranian oil is "attractively priced" versus rival supplies from the

For November and December, Iranian Heavy crude sold to has been priced at $1.25 a barrel below Saudi's Arab Medium, a discount not seen since 2004.

The source also said many Chinese refiners were geared towards processing Iranian crude grades.

At 360,000 bpd, China's purchases would still be 45 percent less than the average 655,000 bpd imported during the January-September period.

The rise in Iranian and surging production from the United States, and OPEC countries has pulled down by almost a third since October. [O/R]

Ahead of the sanctions being implemented in early November, China's from Iran fell to 1.05 million tonnes (247,260 bpd) in October, the lowest since May 2010, Chinese customs data shows.

Data from Eikon, however, shows that 2.77 million tonnes of Iranian crude were discharged into Chinese ports in October, including into bonded storage tanks in

By December, China's Iran could reach almost 3 million tonnes, the Eikon data showed. A total 2.51 million tonnes of Iranian crude were discharged into in October and November, according to the data.

Other major Iranian oil buyers, including India, and Japan, are also increasing or resuming orders.

It is still not clear whether Iran will be able to export much oil after the U.S. sanctions waivers expire around the start of May.

Ship Loading Destination Discharge status


Dore 9-Nov Shuidong Discharged end-Nov

Herby 3-Nov Waiting for discharge

Horse 9-Nov Suanshan Discharged in Dec 1

Sea Cliff 8-Nov Huizhou Signal off after arriving

Dec 1

Dino I 3-Nov Floating near Xingang

after arrival Dec 3

Sabiti 20-Oct Jinzhou Discharged on Dec 3

Daniel 1-Dec Due to arrive late Dec

Source: Refinitiv

(Reporting by Aizhu in BEIJING and Florence in SINGAPORE; Additional reporting by Jane Chung in SEOUL, Osamu Tsukimori in TOKYO and Nidhi Verma in NEW DELHI; Editing by and Tom Hogue)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, December 07 2018. 14:09 IST