Sinopec, CNPC Skip Iran Oil Purchases for May

Sinopec, CNPC Skip Iran Oil Purchases for MaySinopec, CNPC Skip Iran Oil Purchases for May

China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec Group) and China National Petroleum Corp, the country’s top state-owned refiners, are skipping Iranian oil purchases for loading in May after Washington ended sanction waivers to turn up pressure on Tehran, three people with knowledge of the matter said. 
The United States has not renewed any exemptions from sanctions on Iran, taking a tougher line than expected on the expiry of the waivers, Reuters reported.
China is Iran’s largest oil customer with imports of 475,000 barrels per day in the first quarter of this year, according to Chinese customs data. 
Two of the sources said Sinopec and CNPC have skipped bookings for cargoes loading in May as the companies were worried that taking oil from Iran could invoke US sanctions and cut them out of the global financial system. 
A third source said Sinopec, which buys the majority of China’s Iranian oil, does not wish to breach a long-term supply contract but has opted to suspend booking new cargoes for now due to the sanction worries. 
Of the five supertankers that loaded Iranian crude in April for China, two have discharged, while another two are waiting off Ningbo and Zhoushan in eastern China to discharge, according to Refinitiv data and Refinitiv analyst Emma Li. A fifth tanker is heading to Shuidong in southern Guangdong province. 
The sources said they did not know how long the suspensions will last. 

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