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Record Iranian Crude Flows to China in December


Chinese crude imports recovered through the tail end of last year as the government released import quotas to encourage refiners to boost production.

  • Chinese policy favored more integrated and technologically advanced refining complexes versus inefficient plants which are being phased out by removing their import quotas.
  • Crude buying by China has leant more heavily on discounted grades such as those from Russia and Iran.
  • Iranian crude arrivals surged to a new record in December according to Vortexa, with the lion’s share finding home in Shandong province. Sluggish domestic demand and depressed refining margins have encouraged refiners to turn towards discounted grades.
  • Iranian and Russian crude exporters are set to benefit from the resurgence of the Chinese economy with both countries struggling to place their crude into other markets due to a combination of sanctions and slowing demand.

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