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IPFS News Link • China

China Buys 700K Barrels of Iranian Oil Every Day, Violating US Sanctions

•, by Tyler Durden

Chinese buyers are ramping crude purchases at low prices as the international crude benchmark Brent soars and outweighs any risks of U.S. sanctions. 

Indeed, as Reuters notes, Chinese imports of Iranian crude continued to skyrocket this year despite the sanctions that, if enforced, would allow Washington to cut off those who violate them from the U.S. economy. But when the U.S. president is unlikely to wake up from his afternoon nap or refuse to be disturbed while eating ice cream and do anything to punish China for violating the terms of the embargo, Chinese importers exceeded 700,000 bpd for January, according to estimates by three tanker trackers, which exceeded the 623,000 bpd peak recorded by Chinese customs in 2017 before former President Trump reimposed sanctions in 2018 on Iranian oil exports. 

One tanker tracker said imports between November to December were on average 780,000 bpd. 

Much of the buying comes from independent Chinese refiners (otherwise known as "teapots"), who, traders said embraced Iran's cheaper crude as Brent prices soared last month from $77 to $91. Teapots paid a discount to market, transacting $5 a barrel below Brent. 

Consulting firm Petro-Logistics, which tracks oil flows, said Iran's total crude exports soared in December to over 1 million bpd, the highest in three years. 

"Iran's oil exports are mostly going to China, often through convoluted routes and transshipments, with small volumes going to Syria each month," said CEO Daniel Gerber.