You are here

US OIL SANCTION WAIVERS

China's complaint to US over Iran decision strains complicated ties

Move will contribute to volatility in Middle East and in int'l energy market: Beijing

BT_20190424_LAVAN_3761866.jpg
China is Iran's largest crude oil customer, with total imports last year of 29.27 million tonnes, or about 585,400 barrels a day, roughly 6 per cent of China's total oil imports, according to customs data.

Beijing

CHINA'S Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it has formally complained to the United States over its decision to end waivers on sanctions on Iranian oil imports, adding another fault line to already complicated Beijing-Washington ties.

China is Iran's largest crude oil customer, with total imports last year of 29.27 million tonnes, or about 585,400 barrels a day, roughly 6 per cent of China's total oil imports, according to customs data.

Washington has announced that all Iran sanction waivers will end by May, causing crude oil prices to rise and pressuring importers to cut their Iranian imports to zero.

sentifi.com

Market voices on:

China was one of eight global buyers that won exemptions to import crude oil last November.

China is resolutely opposed to the US enforcing unilateral sanctions or "long armed jurisdiction", Geng Shuang, a ministry spokesman, told a daily news briefing.

"The decision from the US will contribute to volatility in the Middle East and in the international energy market. We urge the US to take a responsible attitude and play a constructive role, not the opposite," Mr Geng said.

"China has already lodged representations with the US side about this."

The "normal" energy cooperation China and other countries have with Iran within the framework of international law is lawful and reasonable, and should be respected, he added.

"China urges the US side to earnestly respect China's interests and concerns and not take any wrong actions that harm China's interests."

China will continue to work to protect the legitimate rights of Chinese firms, Mr Geng said.

Beijing and Teheran have long had close relations, especially in the energy sector.

Some of China's refineries are configured to process the Iranian crude and refinery officials say Iranian oil typically yields better margins compared similar grades from rival suppliers such as Saudi Arabia.

State-owned Sinopec Group and China National Petroleum Corp both produce oil in Iran, having spent billions of dollars on oil fields such as Yadavaran and North Azadegan. They have been sending the oil from the fields to China.

China and the US are currently working to end a bitter trade war, but have numerous other areas of disagreement, including the South China Sea and US support for self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as a wayward province. REUTERS

READ MORE: Oil prices to stay hot as upside factors pile on