Sinopec Resumes US Oil Imports

Sinopec Resumes US Oil ImportsSinopec Resumes US Oil Imports

Asia’s largest refiner Sinopec is set to receive its first US crude oil cargo this week since halting imports from the country in September, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday. 
The resumption is a sign that the Chinese refiner sees fewer risks from importing US oil as trade talks between the two world’s largest economies have progressed, Reuters reported. 
Sinopec’s trading arm Unipec suspended imports in September in case Beijing imposed punitive tariffs on US oil imports as part of the US-China trade war. 
The supertanker Maran Artemis, carrying about 2 million barrels of US West Texas Intermediate Midland crude, is waiting off eastern China’s Qingdao port to discharge its oil, according to Refinitiv analyst Emma Li. 
Noble, a second very large crude carrier also carrying 2 million barrels of WTI Midland crude, is scheduled to arrive in Zhanjiang in southern China in early May, Refinitiv data showed. 
Unipec has purchased more cargoes to arrive in May and June as the company gradually resumes US oil imports, the sources said. 
“The suspension was a precautionary measure,” one of the sources said. 
The company could have imported US oil in recent months, but it decided not to take the risk of having cargoes at sea that could be caught out by the introduction of a Chinese tariff, he added. 
Some of China’s smaller, independent refiners have previously tested the system by importing smaller cargoes in November and March which successfully cleared customs without invoking tariffs, trade sources said. 
China imported 245,600 barrels per day of US oil in 2018, equivalent to about 3-1/2 supertankers per month, data from China customs showed, equivalent to about 2.7% of China’s total imports.

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