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A Chinese logistics company has become a central player in the sanctioned oil supply to Iran and Venezuela, even after being blacklisted by Washington two years ago for processing Iranian crude, told Reuters seven sources with knowledge of the agreements.
The larger role of China Concord Petroleum Co, also known as CCPC, and its expansion in trade with Venezuela, has not been reported before and highlights the limitations of Washington’s system of restrictions, according to the reports. analysts.
Details of the deals were described to Reuters by a range of people, including a China-based source familiar with CCPC operations, Iranian officials and a source with Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA.
Many refineries around the world, including state actors in China, have stopped buying Iranian and Venezuelan crude after the United States imposed sanctions, cutting millions of barrels a day from exports and billions of dollars. to their income.
Dependent on oil revenues to run their countries, Tehran and Caracas have since engaged in an elaborate cat-and-mouse game with Washington to continue exporting crude, employing numerous techniques to avoid detection, including ship transfers. to ship, front companies and intermediaries that operate outside the American financial sphere. Read more
In the past year, CCPC has acquired at least 14 tankers to transport oil from Iran or Venezuela to China, two of the sources said.
Iran’s Oil Ministry declined to comment.
“China maintains normal and legitimate trade with Iran and Venezuela under international law which deserves respect and protection,” a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in response to questions about the role. Chinese companies in the oil trade sanctioned.
“China strongly opposes unilateral sanctions and urges the United States to remove ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ over businesses and individuals.”
Iranian officials familiar with the matter confirmed that the CCPC was a central player in Tehran’s oil trade with China.
China received an average of 557,000 barrels of Iranian crude between November and March, or about 5% of total imports from the world’s largest importer, according to Refinitiv Oil Research, returning to levels last seen before the sanctions were reimposed by the former US President Donald Trump. on Iran in 2018. Read more
The US Treasury declined to comment when asked about the CCPC’s critical role in facilitating the trade of oil from Iran and Venezuela, but said the agency continued its actions on an ongoing basis.
The 14 tankers acquired by CCPC have a capacity of approximately 28 million barrels of oil. At least one other tanker is also linked to CCPC, bringing its capacity to some 30 million barrels, the two sources said.
Iran exported more than 600,000 bpd of crude in June, according to a Reuters investigation. This compares to a peak of 2.8 million barrels per day in 2018, before sanctions were imposed, but down from 300,000 barrels per day in 2020, according to estimates based on oil tanker tracking data.
Report by Reuters