BEIJING: China’s crude oil imports from Iran rose in July from a year earlier, official customs data showed on Friday, as crude imports in the world’s largest energy consumer hit their second highest level on record.
China, Iran’s biggest oil client, imported 2.44 million tonnes of Iranian oil last month, or 575,700 barrels per day (bpd), up 3.0 per cent from a year ago, but down 14.3 per cent from June’s 671,800 bpd.
Thomson Reuters Oil Research & Forecasts had put its latest estimate of China’s July imports from Iran at 2.65 million tonnes, or 624,000 bpd. The group expects volume from Iran to come in at 586,400 bpd in August.
US President Barack Obama laid out his case for US lawmakers to back a nuclear deal with Iran in a letter released by the White House. Obama has said he will veto any rejection of the deal by the US Congress.
Iran, once OPEC’s No.2 producer after Saudi Arabia, hopes to boost crude exports by as much as 1 million bpd once sanctions are lifted.
For the first seven months of the year, China brought in 17.1 million tonnes of Iranian crude oil, or 587,400 bpd, down 4.9 per cent from the year-earlier period, the customs data showed, but still above the 2014 average of roughly 555,000 bpd.
China lifted a total of 7.23 million bpd in July, its second highest month on record.
Crude imports from Saudi Arabia jumped 12.1 per cent to 988,800 bpd, allowing it to keep its spot as China’s top supplier, although volumes were down from June.
Russian imports were also up on a year earlier, surging 59.4 per cent to 887,000 bpd, although they were down from a May peak.
Venezuela imports reached their highest level since at least 2006, rising 182.9 per cent to 517,300 bpd.