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Iranian oil exports to China hit 10-year high

Supplies of sanctioned crude have surged due to hefty discounts, according to Kpler 

Exports of US-sanctioned Iranian oil to China surged to a 10-year high in August, Bloomberg reported this week, citing data from commodity intelligence company Kpler. 

Shipments from Iran are expected to reach 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) this month, the highest since 2013 as rising global prices make the discounted crude more attractive, the outlet said. 

China imported an average of 917,000 bpd of oil from Iran between January and July this year, Kpler’s estimates showed.   


As the world’s top crude importer, China has been ramping up purchases of cheaper Iranian oil this year. It has also intensified competition with India for cut-price Russian barrels.   

Many independent Chinese refiners in Shandong province have started buying increasing volumes of Iranian crude. According to Bloomberg, Iran’s two main grades are currently trading at discounts of more than $10 a barrel to Brent, and are considerably cheaper than Russian blends.   

“The higher flat prices go, the better risk-reward ratio for Shandong refiners to look for Iranian crude,” said Homayoun Falakshahi, a senior oil analyst at Kpler.   

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There is no official data on shipments of Iranian crude to China, so the market relies on data from tanker-tracking companies. However, in its recent report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) confirmed that Tehran’s daily exports have been around one million bpd in 2023.   

“Despite severe financial restrictions, Iran managed to increase its crude oil production by about 140,000 barrels per day in 2022 to an average of 2.5 million barrels per day. It seems that Tehran has maintained its crude sales to China, which has been around one million barrels per day since the third quarter of last year,” the IEA said.   

Iran ramped up its crude exports to a five-year high of 1.4 million bpd in August, according to Davoud Mansour, head of Iran’s Planning and Budget Organization. The Islamic republic is looking to boost its oil production to 3.5 million bpd by the end of September.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section


August 20, 2023 at 12:25PM

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